The lights went out at a high school hockey tournament this past weekend in Sydney, N.S., and it led to a very powerful moment that is shining a positive light on a sport that has had some dark days of late.
“Guaranteed it is something that they will take with them for the rest of their lives,” said John Andersen, the assistant coach of the Horton hockey team.
His team was one of several Nova Scotia high school hockey teams taking part in the 2023 Red Cup Showcase Hockey Tournament in Sydney this past weekend.
Andersen said that during the tournament on Saturday, his team was playing the Memorial Marauders when the power went out in the arena and both teams were sent to wait it out in the dressing rooms.
“We were down with no power for five hours and a lot of people were slumming and getting tired and hungry,” he said.
“The puck-drop was awesome and the intensity was there and the lights just went out and the ref sent us to the room and that’s where it all started,” said Hudson McGean, who plays for Memorial.
Frustrated and bored, McGean said he decided it was time to lighten the mood and hauled out some music.
“I brought out the speaker and saw the other team brought it out into the middle of us and there she went,” he said.
“They were out in the hall dancing and our team just decided to join in,” said Andersen.
Cramped into a narrow rink hallway, the two teams that were supposed to be bitter rivals joined together in a collective song singing Sweet Caroline at the top of their lungs.
“We came together and tried to make a little fun out of it instead of being rough and mean hockey,” said McGean.
Competition in the moment didn’t really matter. “Our team and their team – it just bonded us,” said CJ Zinck, who plays for Horton.
The video of the teams singing posted to social media is making its rounds across the country garnering thousands of views.
“You watch on the ice these guys just go and battle it out for 60 minutes and then you go watch them just enjoy each other and have fun. It is what it is all about; it makes me feel so proud,” said Andersen.
Though powerless, the interaction during the outage made for a very powerful moment.