10/09/2015 10:07 PM
(Photo By: Frank Raymond)
Team Blue emerges victorious with last-minute flurry
Team India Head Coach Adam Sherlip lingered near the Zamboni entrance at the Powerade Centre in Brampton following the conclusion of a once-in-a-lifetime hockey game between the Brampton Beast and Team India.
He watched his team skate proudly around the rink, holding the Indian flag high over their heads and while he may deny it, Sherlip seemed consumed by the emotion of the moment.
After opening the game with the full roster of Team India squaring off against the Brampton Beast, the teams then split up, resulting in great hockey with a wild finish.
Team Blue eked out a thrilling 12-11 win over Team White, with the tying and winning goals coming in the final minute of the contest.
Sherlip, oozing with pride, admitted it had been a long road leading to Team India’s first game in North America but the experience was certainly worthwhile.
“It was surreal,” he said. “It was a truly special day and a special week and the culmination of a lot of peoples’ hard work. It was a truly special day.”
Sherlip spoke highly of every player on his team, both those from India and his new recruits from across North America, and even though they were competing against a professional hockey team with years of experience, his approach to coaching the game was simple.
“The biggest thing for me was to tell the team before the game, just have fun and they did,” Sherlip said with a smile.
“That was the thing I asked them the most, are you having fun? More importantly, there were a handful of guys that played some of the best hockey they ever played. They worked hard every shift. They got shots on net. With the beast players out there pushing them and playing hard and encouraging them on and off the ice, that made a big difference.”
Beast President and General Manager Cary Kaplan has been around the game of hockey for a long time and even he was taken aback at the pride and passion with which Team India competed.
“It was a huge success for us all,” Kaplan said. “Credit to Adam and Harjinder Singh and all the guys from India. My favourite thing was at the end of the game. I can’t remember a game where a team didn’t win something big where they stayed on the ice that long to celebrate. The guys from India didn’t want to come off the ice.”
Beast Head Coach Colin Chaulk and his assistant Peter Goulet were quick to agree that the experience was one they won’t soon forget.
“It was a lot of fun,” Goulet said. “It was a great experience for Team India and for us.”
An exhibition game like this one could have been a tough one to approach but Goulet said the gameplan for this particular match was simple.
“We just went out and had some fun like the players did,” he said. “There was no pressure on us, no matchups, no pre-game lineups. Just go out and have fun. It was great mixing the teams together. We all enjoyed that.”
“It was a great experience,” Chaulk added. “For Team India, they definitely got better as the game progressed and they built some relationships and I really think they enjoyed their experience. It was great to meet them and their coaching staff and we wish them the best of luck.”