Cornwall - Jan. 30, 2011 - What do you get when you have 40 would be hockey stars mixed in with two backyard rinks, a two time Olympic medalist, a great anthem singer and a vat of home cooked chili?
Hockey Day in Cornwall, of course.
Brian O'Neill and Breck Bowen turned their north end backyards into hockey central Saturday to raise money for Bruce Wotherspoon, a local blind man and longtime friend of O'Neill's.
Over $700 was raised from the $20 entry fee each player paid to play in the 15th annual Big B Boot Hockey Tournament.
Two 3-on-3 hockey games without skates involving the six rotating goalies were being played at the same time from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Former Olympian Lori Dupuis took part in the festivities even tasting the O'Neill family recipe for chili.
Local fire firefighters as well as Cornwall police and OPP dotted the rosters of the 12 teams. Julie Villeneuve got the day off to a rousing start with an excellent rendition of O Canada.
The tradition has grown to the point where CBC sent Steve Fischer to gather footage that will be earmarked for that network's popular Hockey Day in Canada broadcast in two weeks.
Like all good tournaments, a championship team was crowned and earned the priviledge to hoist the Big B Boot Hockey trophy (two mounted broomball shoes surrounding a stick and a sponge puck). Brian O'Neill, Shawn O'Neill and Chris Poirier bested Mike Marleau, Lorne Taillon and Dean Furniss 4-2. Brian O'Neill joins Steve McGillis as the only 5 time winners of the trophy.
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