Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
February 25, 2001
Fathers offer up cream pies
Priestly hockey players delight 5,000 with hijinks
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — It was a hockey game like no other. More than anything it was fun to watch. Using a combination of hockey skills and comedy, the famous Flying Fathers defeated the Edmonton Oilers alumni and Media All Stars 14-5 at the Skyreach Centre Feb 18.
It was the 901st game the Flying Fathers have won out of 908 they have played since they started almost 30 years ago.
Playing to a crowd of just 5,000, the Fathers took no chances and sprinkled the ice, and the crowd, with holy water before the game began.
It worked, for the Fathers took the lead early in the game and kept it to the end.
How the Fathers managed to defeat a team whose lineup included the likes of former Oilers Craig Simpson and Dave Hunter is no secret. They combined talent with trickery. Most members of the Flying Fathers are skilled hockey players with minor, junior and even NHL experience.
They are also experienced cheaters, who will pull any trick to make sure their fans are having a good time and that they are winning the game.
In addition to bribing and intimidating referees, who turned a blind eye to their infractions, the Fathers threw pies at key members of the opposing team, used some surprising guests to confuse the Oilumni and even turned their net around for awhile.
The Fathers also got invaluable help from guests like Smitty the Clown, whose antics not only kept the crowd laughing but also distracted the Oilumni, and Sister Mary Shooter, the "Flying Nun," who made a surprising appearance in the second period.
She scored a penalty shot while Smitty held Oilumni goalie Doug Downs, the A-Channel news anchor.
The Fathers also proved their expertise at pie throwing. Ask city Councillor Robert Noce. He got a cream pie across his face during the game's opening ceremonies, to the delight of the crowd. Near the end of the game all referees got pies in their faces as well; one got four.
Smitty, the crowd's favourite, took over the refereeing for a while, creating chaos. In response to an alleged Oilumni infraction, he sent the whole team to the penalty box. As penance for their sins, he forced them to play a portion of the second period with short, plastic sticks.
Oilumni defence/forward Doug Hicks also fell victim to the Fathers' tricks. It happened right after he scored the first goal for his team. In recognition of his deed, the Fathers proceeded to "ordain" him while members of both teams knelt on the cold ice. They lit candles, placed a priestly cape and hat on Hicks and then, when he least expected it, they smashed a cream pie on his face.
And when Oilumni Al Hamilton was about to score with 11 minutes remaining on the game, the Fathers stopped him cold with a pie on his face.
The crowd was delighted with the game. "It was really fun. I really like all the comedy that went on," said Helen Labine of Stony Plain, who attended the game with her husband, three children and her mom. "I really had a lot of fun."
"This was more fun than a real game," said Wynowna Hurd of Edmonton. "This is what hockey should be all about. Everybody was happy. Everybody was enjoying it."
Ryan Schoorlemmer, 11, was impressed by Fathers goalie Wayne Provencal, business administrator for the Edmonton Archdiocese. "He was really good. He made some very good saves."
Rose Marie McCarthy, who helped bring the Fathers to Alberta, has received many phone calls and emails asking her to bring the Fathers back next year. She said it won't be possible because the team is already booked for 2002. But it could happen in 2003 when the Fathers tour Saskatchewan.
McCarthy "enjoyed the game" but was disappointed with the small turnout. The organizing committee had projected a crowd of 15,000 to 16,000.
The KARA Family Support Foundation and the Edmonton Housing Trust Fund will receive the bulk of the estimated $50,000 raised through the event.
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