FILE — Nitehawks captain Sam Swanson is consoled by teammates on the bench after the handshakes. (John K. White/Castlegar News)

FILE — Nitehawks captain Sam Swanson is consoled by teammates on the bench after the handshakes. (John K. White/Castlegar News)

John White: Beaver Valley Nitehawks go out with class

Well, that was an incredible series.

Well, that was an incredible series.

The Castlegar Rebels went to seven games with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in Round 1 of the KIJHL playoffs and came away with the series win.

As you’d imagine, the series was a see-saw affair with momentum pushing back and forth too often to count. These teams were so evenly matched you truly did not know who to favour at the start of any game in the series.

READ MORE: Castlegar Rebels headed to second round of playoffs

If you watched all seven games, you would have marvelled at the strategy shifts and adjustments made by each team. Beaver Valley came out flying with aggressive forechecking; Castlegar figured out a way to counter that and pressed back. Castlegar would ride superhuman goaltending efforts to steal games, and Beaver Valley would return the favour. Nerves got to both teams at times, with uncharacteristic mistakes happening on both ends of the ice.

There were moments of lost composure, ill-timed penalties and misconducts. The emotional toll that the pressure of the series took on the players was clear.

One constant was the mutual respect between the two teams. You could tell that Nitehawks head coach Terry Jones has been around the hockey block, as his charges played clean and with respect in the third period even when it became obvious they were running out of time. There were no runs, no slashes, no cheap shots. They played hard to the end, but nothing that crossed the line.

My favourite element of covering sports is witnessing inter-team camaraderie and sportsmanship. Yes, the teams played to the edge between the whistles, but when everything wrapped up and the adrenaline rushes subsided, the players respected the effort that each other put in to get there and they legitimately appreciated those bonds.

This display of sportsmanship culminated in the traditional end-of-series handshakes.

I got a large lump in my throat when I watched Nitehawks captain and energy-leader Sam Swanson go through the line giving props to the Rebels players. He was so classy despite it being his last game in the league. The part that hurt even more was that he sustained an injury earlier in the series and did not really play in Game 7. So not only did he know it was his last game by the end of the third period, he wasn’t able to actually take to the ice and contribute physically.

READ MORE: Beaver Valley Nitehawks fall to Castlegar Rebels in Game 7

How classy is this guy you ask? An excited young fan, likely too young to realize how terrible Sam would feel at that moment, asked him for an autograph or something through the glass. Without batting an eye, Sam handed the boy his game-used stick through the opening in the glass.

No, YOU’RE bawling.

It was after this incredibly gracious gesture that the weight of the moment hit Swanson. He slumped on the bench and the emotion overcame him. His teammates did their best to console them, but what could they say?

It’s the most painful part of competing in — and as it turns out — covering sports. Hats off to you, Mr. Swanson.


Follow me on Twitter @johnkwhite
Email me john.white@castlegarnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

FILE — The Beaver Valley Nitehawks captain Sam Swanson, 29, played his last game for the Hawks on Sunday in a Game 7 loss to the Castlegar Rebels. With the 4-1 win, the Rebels will face the Nelson Leafs in the Neil Murdoch Division final. (Castlegar News/John White)

FILE — The Beaver Valley Nitehawks captain Sam Swanson, 29, played his last game for the Hawks on Sunday in a Game 7 loss to the Castlegar Rebels. With the 4-1 win, the Rebels will face the Nelson Leafs in the Neil Murdoch Division final. (Castlegar News/John White)

Just Posted

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Caden Tart and Luke Geisbrecht host Scratch the Scripture. Photo: Submitted
Two Castlegar teens launch faith podcast

Scratch the Scripture aims to answer teen’s questions about God

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

Cliffe Churches helped create the Robson Fire Department. Photo: Submitted
Robson Fire Department honours Cliffe Churches

Cliffe Churches helped create the Robson Fire Department

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read