Female athletes were recognized for paving the road for future athletes during the first annual Rocky Mountain Raiders Alumni Game on Dec. 22 at the Scott Seamans Arena in De Winton.
“I’m speechless for how it all went, we expected to set the bar, but we didn’t expect to set it that high,” said Rocky Mountain Raiders Head Coach Dustin Borbandy.
A highlight of the game for Borbandy was seeing the 34 skaters and two goal tenders chat with each other and reminisce.
“That was exactly what we were trying to accomplish,” Borbandy said.
“I don’t think [athletes] understood what they were getting themselves into. They just thought there would be a puck drop, and they would go play and enjoy themselves,” Borbandy said.
He added, “We wanted to make it a moment they are going to cherish. We want to keep this going, keep recognizing the players from the past, the future and all coming through.”
The Rocky Mountain Raiders Alumni Game not only recognized the athletes, but it also honoured the parents and supporters of the organization.
“You see them every day, you take it for granted that they’re on the team, when the teammates move on, you move on as parents and you forget how much they brought to the association and to the program.
For me as a parent and a coach, just to get to recognize those people again was a huge honour,” Borbandy said.
Although the game was successful, Borbandy regrets that he didn’t advertise the game more.
“The support was overwhelming, watching the players faces when they walked through the door, seeing new jerseys designed for them having the jerseys set up in the room, looking like a team, they felt really honoured,” Borbandy said.
Without the support from the parents who gave a helping hand, and the players the game wouldn’t have been possible, Borbandy said.
He added, “We were looking to have a fun game, but they made it competitive. That’s what we wanted, they are athletes, they wanted to compete, they play at high levels, it was nice to have them back and we hope to see more players come back next year.”