One wonders, what would bring these two groups together?
Living in Canada, it is most natural that this medium would be ice hockey.
The Canadian Multicultural Hockey Championships have been played in Toronto during the Christmas-New Years break of the past three years. Last year’s winners - the Irish - are back, along with teams representing over 40 other nationalities living in Canada.
This year, for the first time, the eestlased entered a team (Ice), and for their first round opponent they drew the venelased, Russian Kremlins. Earlier this year the eestlased had success, becoming the Toronto Baltic champs. Now that team would move on to a new challenge. But there was big problem, as missing from the team were Auksi, Mehisto, Kaju, Holmberg, Allas, Uukkivi - all key performers in previous games. The veterans - Marley, Heine, Rosenberg, Trei, Kolga, Toome, Marley ,Kolga, would be playing with a new group of youngsters - Vellend, Koger, Migur, Põldma, Vellend, Werner. (If some of these names are familiar to you, and you think - what is that old fart still doing trying to play - in all cases this is a team of the next generation!)
In fact , Coach Mehisto and behind the scenes guy Nieländer were initially concerned that these young players could be somewhat sidetracked by their good looking female supporters in the stands, as about 50 eestlased representing every generation came to support their team. The team would also like to thank its sponsor – Eesti Sihtkapital Kanadas!
From the outset of the game, the venelased put pressure on the eesti goal, but great goaltending by Tyler Vellend kept them off the scoresheet and gave the eestlased a chance to find their skating legs. Eventually the venelased scored the first goal of the game late in the first period, but with only 33 seconds remaining in the period, Keaton Vellend, on a pass from Markus Rosenberg tied it up. The second and third periods were fought on even terms, with both teams having many good chances, but excellent goaltending pushed this game into overtime.
The overtime had a few new twists to make it quick, as the next game was scheduled. Two minutes per overtime, no offsides, three skaters aside, and those skaters had to play the full two minutes. This was wide-open hockey!
In each overtime, the eestlased had excellent scoring chances when in all alone on the vene goalie but things did not work out quite as we would have liked. As it was, with 28 seconds remaining in the 3rd overtime, after Tyler has stopped all of the bullets, a Russian knuckleball found the back of net and this game was over.
The Russian Kremlins had prevailed 2 -1 over the Estonian Ice.
The game was well fought by both sides, hands were shook, the player of the game was awarded to the vene goalie, and each team went to the dressing room to regroup for their next tournament game. Coach Mehisto summed it up, ‘we worked hard, but we couldn’t finish’.
On Friday, December 28 at Weston Arena, the Estonian Ice will be playing the soomlased at 1.05 pm, and United World team at 6.30 pm.
Toronto eestlased vs Toronto venelased (6)