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Challenge Cup 2018: Sir John boys win in stunning comeback

Sir John Franklin High School hockey players celebrate after victory in the 2018 Challenge Cup
Sir John Franklin High School hockey players celebrate after victory in the 2018 Challenge Cup.

Sir John Franklin High School’s boys tied the game with four seconds remaining and won in overtime to complete one of the most memorable Challenge Cup victories.

Earlier, École St Patrick High School’s girls beat their city rivals 7-3.

The two hockey games form one of Yellowknife’s biggest annual sporting contests, both playing to a packed house inside the city’s Multiplex.

The boys’ result will go down as one of the Challenge Cup’s most dramatic finishes in its 34-year history.



Sir John had been trailing 4-2 with one minute to play.

“There’s no better way to win it,” said Sir John captain Markus Cluff. “That was insane.

“With five seconds left, I still had faith – and it paid off for us.”

Peter Curran, the coach, told Cabin Radio: “If you believe there’s enough racetrack left, things often go your way.”



Mom misses out

“This was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better group, or a better win,” added Cluff – who said his mother had been absent for the game as she is in Hawaii, escaping the cold weather.

“You missed it, mom!” he told the camera with a smile in Cabin Radio’s postgame interview.

Sir John was the defending boys’ champion after St Pat’s won four in a row between 2013 and 2016.

The Wade Hamer Challenge Cup began in 1985 as a friendly hockey game between the two schools. Since 1996, separate male and female games have been held.

The games are played in front of many hundreds of fans, with students given the afternoon off school to watch. The results deliver bragging rights for current students and thousands of alumni alike.

Victory in the girls’ event completed a four-year sweep for the Catholic school over its YK1 counterpart.

“That’s the dream goal,” said St Pat’s captain Sarah Fleming of her team’s four-year sweep.

St Pat’s looked in control throughout after a dominant opening, racing to a four-goal lead before Sir John had made any real inroads.

“Both teams played their hardest,” said Fleming, “but we had the more dominant side at the start of the first period and that’s what brought us to win the cup.”