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Patriotes win cheer and spirit banners at 49th East-West event

by Brad Aubin

It was an epic battle on the ice and in the stands, as students from 12 area high schools formed two camps, East and West, and fought to prove they were the best hockey crew and the most spirited supporters in the arena. The duel took place on Friday, Dec. 13 at Memorial Gardens in North Bay, during the most anticipated high school event of the year: the 49th bi-annual East-West game.

The high school tradition included six periods of hockey, four for the boys and two for girls, with 2500 people in the stands. The East side teams were made up of students from Almaguin, West Ferris, St Joseph-Scollard Hall, FJ McElligott, Algonquin and Élisabeth-Bruyère. Local schools Franco-Cité, Northern Secondary and École secondaire publique Nipissing Ouest were on the West team along with Odyssée, Widdifield and Chippewa of North Bay.

Teams picked up two points for each period won, or 1 point for a tie, adding to their side’s total. The first round saw Franco-Cité’s boys tied with West Ferris 2-2. Northern Secondary and E.s.p. Nipissing Ouest joined forces with Odyssée against Almaguin, but the boys lost 2-0. Their girls fared better, teamed up with Franco-Cité, beating Almaguin and St-Joseph Scollard Hall 1-0. In the end, the East side took the hockey title with 8 points against 6 for the West. However East-West is not just about hockey, far from it.

While the rivalry on the ice is palpable, the competition in the stands is even more heated, with the coveted spirit and cheer awards up for grabs. Each school fills the bleachers with students cheering proudly in their school colours, with mascots revving up the crowd. The excitement had been building for this moment well before the big game, as students spend weeks preparing and practicing elaborate routines for their two-minute cheer. Cheer banners are given to the best school from each side, and this year’s judges for the West side cheers were Marc Lavigne, Neil Fox and Stef Paquette.

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