By: Vince Clark
On December 26th ,2019, the 14th annual Scragler Cup road hockey tournament took place outside Raymond “RayJay” Bouvier’s home on Clara Avenue in St-Georges.
The tournament features three men’s teams, the Bannocktown Brawlers, the Whiskey Sox, and the Assassins. The tournament typically also features a women’s division, known as the Scraglette cup, but sadly it was cancelled for the second year in a row as lots of the tournament regulars were unavailable on tournament day.
The Brawlers came into the tournament as heavy favourites, having cruised to the title last year. The first game featured them and the Assassins. The Assassins had a much stronger team this year, with the return of stalwarts Brandon Arsenault and Jeremy Sobey, as well as several other veterans. They came in determined to avenge the 20-5 thrashing they received from the Brawlers in the opening round last year. Both teams put on a show exchanging chances enroute to a 6-6 draw. The Brawlers then went on to demolish the Whiskey Sox 13-4. This created the foundation for an epic semi-final game between the Whiskey Sox and Assassins.
In a shocking twist, Assassins top goal scorer Brandon Arsenault decided to strap on the pads and play in net for the crucial semi final game. He and Whiskey Sox goaltender and Scragler Cup Rookie Chris Carver put on a show. The game was a back and forth battle that went to a shootout at 6-6 but both teams could’ve easily been in double digits as both goaltenders traded tremendous saves. The shootout also saw goaltending brilliance from both sides, and the Whiskey Sox finally prevailed on a goal from Brad Allan in the 10th round. It was truly an epic game to watch, even featuring a line brawl when Brandon Arsenault was hit from behind when he left the net to play the ball near the Assassins bench.
This set up a rematch with the high powered, well rested Brawlers. The Whiskey Sox were short benched and simply had nothing left to give in the final. The game stayed close for a while before the Sox started to fade and the Brawlers piled up the goals, winning the game and the championship by a score of 10-4. Long-time Brawler Jason Leroye was named MVP, becoming the first player in tournament history to receive the honour three times.
This tournament continues to solidify its legacy as a beloved community holiday event year after year. From the shockingly high quality of play for small town road hockey, to the classic colour commentary provided by the host RayJay Bouvier, this event is always a crowd pleaser, and I know all of the tournament regulars are already looking forward to next year.