Dylan LeBlanc’s grandparents were up in the warm room at the Cabot Trail Arena in Cheticamp on Saturday to take in the 8th Annual Dylan LeBlanc Memorial tournament. Gloria and Harry LeBlanc are joined by Cheticamp team manager Cindy MacQuarrie (left) and Dylan’s mom, Sheila.
-by Bill Dunphy
Dylan LeBlanc’s teammates have all graduated from school now.
Most of the young hockey players who took part in his memorial tournament in Cheticamp on Saturday were about to start school that fall when Dylan was struck and killed by a boom truck while riding his bicycle near a construction site on a sunny day in August, 2010.
Dylan was 12 years old at the time. He will be forever 12 years old to the family and friends who loved him.
The 8th Annual Dylan LeBlanc Memorial Peewee C tournament was held at the Cabot Trail Arena on the weekend, where the Baddeck Bobcats swept their way to victory in the four-team tournament.
Baddeck defeated the Mabou/Port Hood Islanders 6-2 in Sunday’s championship game.
More than just a hockey tournament, after Dylan’s death the family started a memorial fund to assist families financially so that their children can participate in sports.
Dylan played every sport he could, including hockey, basketball, softball, and soccer. It is the wish of his family that donations made to his memorial fund will allow other young boys and girls to participate in sports.
“It means a lot to us that this tournament happens every year and that Dylan’s memory is kept alive,” said his mother, Sheila LeBlanc, during Saturday’s opening ceremonies.
Donations can be made directly at any Royal Bank branch: account #501-529-2, bank #003, transit #01323.
The tournament began Saturday with a barnburner between the host Cheticamp Trail Riders and Mabou/Port Hood Islanders.
James Murphy gave the Islanders a 1-0 first-period lead, beating Cheticamp’s defencemen through the middle and scoring on a pick top shelf.
Murphy made it 2-0 early in the second frame, scoring with a wrister on a right-wing rush.
A minute-and-25 seconds later, Trail Riders captain Matthieu Muise got his team on the board, going end-to-end and driving to the net for the score.
And a minute after that, Cowen Taylor tied the game, picking the pocket of a Mabou/Port Hood defencemen and scoring on the ensuing breakaway.
But with 1:36 left in the period, Murphy made it a hat trick with a go-ahead goal similar to his first.
The Islanders came out strong in the third, with Lucky Basque taking a wristshot from the faceoff dot to beat screened Riders goaltender Michael Larade for a 4-2 lead.
The never-say-die Trail Riders answered the bell, with Zach Duggay scoring from the point on a seeing-eye shot that pinballed past Islanders goaltender Liam Sutherland.
Twenty seconds later and Matthieu Muise tied it on a bank shot off Sutherland on the short side to tie the game 4-4 at 5:49 of the 12-minute period.
The Islanders responded at 8:10 when Connor MacEachern dished the puck to the slot where Nathan Cox picked up the pass and went top shelf for what would be the game-winning goal.
Scores from the rest of the round-robin are as follows: Baddeck 4 Inverness 1; Mabou/Port Hood 4 Inverness 4; Baddeck 3 Cheticamp 1; Cheticamp 3 Inverness 1; Baddeck 6 Mabou/Port Hood 3.
The Islanders’ win over Cheticamp to start the tourney proved to be the difference in Mabou/Port Hood finishing in second place behind Baddeck to advance to the championship game.
In the final, the Bobcats led 2-1 and 4-2 by periods on the way to the 6-2 victory.
Scott Smith led the Bobcats with four goals. Singles were scored by Carter Kuchta and Von Paul.
Denver MacNeil and Mack Gillis replied for the Islanders.
The tournament all-star team included: goaltender Craig Michael, Baddeck; defencemen Catherine Chiasson, Cheticamp, and Lauryn Smith, Inverness; and forwards Scott Smith, Baddeck; James Murphy, Mabou/Port Hood; Nolan Miller, Inverness.
The tournament organizers thanked its sponsors, including: Chiasson Bros. Ltd.; Acadian Credit Union; Wabo’s Pizza; Mr. Chicken; Le Gabriel; Cheticamp Boilers; Cheticamp Co-op; Charlie’s Store; Premay Pipelines; and Irish Breaker Fishery Ltd.
“Let the kids play the game.”
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