TRAVERSE CITY — Central and West have the McCullough Cup.
Now Central and the Bay Reps have a trophy to play for too.
The two teams square off on the ice at 6 p.m. today at Centre ICE Arena for the inaugural Veterans Cup.
The idea for the event came about this summer in a conversation between the team’s two head coaches — Central’s Chris Givens and the Reps’ Todd Spaulding.
“For several years we always played each other in the first game of our holiday tournament. We talked about doing something different there, just give both teams an opportunity to play somebody we wouldn’t otherwise,” said Givens. “So we said we’ll still play each other, but we’ll move back the game later in the year. The more we got talking about it, we thought it would be neat if we turned that into it’s own event.”
Through more discussion came the idea for honoring veterans and handing out a trophy to the winner.
“We were just looking for something we could do for the community,” said Spaulding. “I think it’s always good that high school kids can be aware of things like this. We did a cancer night earlier in the year and I think it’s good that they realize some things that are out there. Both of us thought to honor the veterans would be a good thing. We just came up with the idea that we’ll call it the Veterans Cup and we’ll play it every year.”
Veterans will get into the game free of charge with an identification. Also planned is the color guard from the Cherryland VFW Post to present the colors. The combined choirs from Central and St. Francis are going to sing the national anthem and before the second period veterans will be honored and a moment of silence will be held to honor deceased veterans.
Proceeds from the game will go toward the VFW post. Those will be generated through some of the gate receipts, a 50/50 drawing and a collection of donations by youth hockey players.
“It would be nice to give them (VFW) a large sum just to help them out a bit,” said Givens. “But it’s more about hopefully having a lot of veterans come to the game. Just honoring them for all they’ve done for our country.”