An Edmonton minor hockey team is back home facing a costly reality after a fairytale weekend at a hockey tournament in Arizona.
After playing two games in the Arizona Cactus Club Tournament, the Southside Athletic Club midget team woke up Saturday to find the trailer containing all their hockey gear stolen from the hotel parking lot.
"I sat on curb and felt sick for about five minutes," said assistant coach Mike McAmmond.
The team had raised $30,000 to play in the tournament and players thought they might have to forfeit games due to the lack of equipment.
But the father of one of the players contacted a friend with the Edmonton Oilers who had a connection with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Fours hours later, a trailer full of professional hockey gear from the Coyotes pulled into the hotel parking lot.
'We made it work'
"Everyone was a little skeptical at first," said McAmmond. "Some people were playing with skates too big, gloves that didn’t fit. But in the end we made it work."
Tournament organizers postponed the Edmonton team's two games until 9 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
The team won both games, capturing a place in the tournament final on Sunday.
The Edmonton players lost 3-2, winning a silver medal.
"It was a heartbreaker, but they played three games in 16 hours with someone else’s equipment, which is got to be tough to do," said head coach Chris Resler.
"We were a bit disappointed about it, but then we thought about all what we went through that weekend and we were satisfied with how we played," said player J. F. Royer, 16.
Coyotes donate sticks
The Coyotes let the players keep the sticks.
"They’re pretty happy," said Resler. "It’s an experience of a lifetime to go down there … then ‘boom’ all of a sudden you’re wearing NHL gear.
"It made a bad moment really good."
Now each of the 18 players must buy about $3,000 in new gear, said Resler.
He's hoping somebody will help the players out with the cost.
United Cycle, a sporting goods store, is offering to outfit each player at a discount.