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Around 1,500 people crowded into the Ed Jeske Arena on the afternoon of November 23 to witness the 32nd Annual Wade Hamer Challenge Cup between St. Pat’s High School and Sir John Franklin High School. Grown into one of the largest one-day sporting events in the Northwest Territories, this was one of the most exciting sports days of the year in Yellowknife! The standing room only arena was alive with energy — and green and blue decorations — as the crowd witnessed the furious hockey action between the Irish of St. Pat’s and the Falcons of Sir John. As the chants and songs faded away, St. Pat’s had won both the Male and Female Cups.

For the Female Cup, St. Pat’s had won it back from Sir John last year for the first time in four years with a 6-0 victory. This year, they attempted to be repeat champions for the first time since 2011. The Irish ladies started out strong, scoring four goals within the first four minutes. From that point on, they continued to dominate the game with their skating and passing abilities and, in the end, came away with a lopsided shutout victory. Despite the final score, both teams played with great sportsmanship and left the game feeling proud of how they had played and happy to have been apart of another year’s Challenge Cup.

Boys team, shot moments after winning the Cup. © Brent Currie

For the Male Cup, St. Pat’s had won the Cup the last three years and was looking to make it four in a row. The Irish started out the game in penalty trouble as they made trip after trip to the penalty box. Despite this, they scored first on the penalty kill (one of three short-handed goals in the first period). Sir John, however, responded with a power play goal to tie the game up. The rest of the period continued to see the Irish take penalties and try to hold Sir John off. The first period ended at 5-2 for St. Pat’s on the strength of St. Pat’s three short-handed goals. The second period saw the Irish pull away as they scored four goals to win the game 9-2. This was the 9th victory in the last 11 games for the Irish men.

Details about the Challenge Cup — and its history — can be found at the NWT School Athletic Association’s website: challengecup.nwtschoolsports.com.

Submitted by the NWT School Athletic Association.