Cape Breton minor hockey team working to honour Oilers' legend Joey Moss
SYDNEY RIVER, N.S. -- A Cape Breton minor hockey team hopes to score big for a great cause close to home.
The Cape Breton County under-13 A Islanders teamed up with the local Down Syndrome Society in memory of a hockey hero and are hoping the biggest goal they score this season will be off the ice.
"I think it's actually insane that we're this far," says Jaxson Williams, a member of the team.
Max Murphy is a member of the Cape Breton Down Syndrome Society.
"This is perfect," Murphy said. "They support each other more than anything, and they really do love each other."
The islanders are one of 12 regional finalists for the annual Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup.
The team is looking to score a big assist for the Cape Breton Down Syndrome Society.
"That would be fantastic," Murphy said. "And knowing how much money we would have to spend."
The team is doing this in memory of a hockey hero.
Joey Moss became one of the most iconic figures in Edmonton Oilers history.
His role over several decades as the team's stick boy and as an ambassador rank him up there with Oiler greats -- and close friends -- like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier in terms of popularity.
Moss died in October at the age of 57.
Now, the County Islanders are looking to create what they would call Joey's Club in their community.
"We're working on activities where we're promoting inclusion, recreation, and education throughout the CBRM," said Lynn Levatte, the team's manager. "And we're working on a mentorship program and an online program."
The islanders summed up their mission in a video as part of their Good Deeds Cup entry.
The other regional finalists from the Maritimes vying for the $100,000 grand prize are the South East Female Hockey Association under-11 Fury of Moncton, N.B., and the U-13 female Southside Wildcats of Prince Edward Island.
The Islanders feel that in a way, they are winners already.
"We've had the opportunity to connect with many families and other hockey teams, as well, just to promote Down syndrome, and to promote the abilities for all individuals," Levatte said.
In a year minor hockey teams across the country have dealt with so much uncertainty, the contest gives them something positive to focus on and a new goal to shoot for.
"COVID has really changed the focus of hockey, locally," Levatte said. "So this would be a really nice way to end our season."
Islanders' player Jason Small agrees.
"It would be amazing," Small said. "I don't even have any words to describe how happy I would be. I know the whole team would be happy."
Voting for the Good Deeds Cup's 12 regional teams has ended.
The contest will be whittled down to three finalists on March 20th.