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Home Sports Bears get heartfelt sendoff on road to Esso Cup

Bears get heartfelt sendoff on road to Esso Cup

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Bears get heartfelt sendoff on road to Esso Cup
The Prince Albert Northern Bears bus departs from the Art Hauser Centre parking lot on Saturday, May 14. -- Screen Capture from video on Prince Albert Northern Bears Facebook page.

A loyal crowd of friends, fans, and families came to see off the Prince Albert Northern Bears hockey team as they left for the Esso Cup Saturday morning.

Attendees wielded homemade signs and honked their car horns full blast as the bus drove out of the Art Hauser Centre parking lot and on to Okotoks, Alta.

Among those supporters were members of the Prince Albert Fire Department, who blared the sirens off two fire trucks.

“We’re here supporting a local team, cheering the girls on to have a successful Esso Cup,” Captain Joel Perreault said. “That’s how we like to do it, to get the girls going on a high note here, to get that adrenaline going so they can come home with some wins.”

The families of the Bears players were also enthusiastic, with several planning on taking the extra (several hundred) miles to show their support in Alberta.

“We’re very excited to watch (the Bears) in the tournament,” said Sandra Petreman, the mother of Bears defenceman Jazlyn Petreman. “We’re headed down there today, and we’ll be at every game.”

“It’s been a long journey and we’re looking forward to this tournament,” said Corrine Cey, the mother of Bears centre Julia Cey. “They’ve worked hard for it.”

The Bears are one of the few local hockey teams still practicing after other Prince Albert clubs were eliminated from the playoffs. With all the extra free ice time, the club has tried to use that to their advantage.

“They’ve got a lot of extra ice time, more than other teams in the province to develop and grow,” Cey said. “We’re really excited, and we didn’t have to give up on hockey, unlike some other families.”

Petreman agreed, “The kids got to practice even more.”

The Bears shall be up against five other teams from across Canada, including the always powerful Saskatchewan based Notre Dame Hounds, as well as the so-far undefeated Northern Selects from Nova Scotia, the hard-nosed Remparts du Richelieu from Quebec, the plucky Fraser Valley Rush from the Pacific Division, and the red-hot Durham West Lightning of the Ontario Division. 

The preliminary round lasts one week, with every team playing each other once. After the preliminaries are done, the top four teams will battle it out on the ice on Saturday, May 21st, with the final taking place Sunday afternoon.