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Brooks toasts its NJAC champion Bandits
Hundreds of people lined 2nd Avenue in the City of Brooks on Tuesday to celebrate the storybook season of the Brooks Bandits that ended with a National Junior A Championship (NJAC) title.
The city of roughly 15,000 shone bright on the national stage as it hosted the NJAC where the hometown AJHL squad completed their undefeated tournament run with a win in the finals over the Prince George Spruce Kings on the ice of the Centennial Regional Arena Sunday.
Bandits’ forward Arnaud Vachon appreciated the turnout along the parade route.
“It’s a cloudy day, it’s not the warmest day, then we have a parade and you look outside and there’s hundreds of people lined up in streets cheering us on,” said Vachon. “It really just says a lot about our community and how much they’ve supported us this year. Just looking at who showed up for this parade, it’s unbelievable.”
“It’s not the biggest place but, like TSN said, it’s a hockey town. Everyone supports us, the sponsors, it’s just crazy how much so little people can make such a big difference in a small town.”
A crowd gathered in Veterans Park at the conclusion of the parade for a Brooks Bandits rally celebrating the franchise’s second national title.
Mayor Barry Morishita says Brooks embraced its Bandits and the team returned the favour.
“We’re a relatively small community,” said Morishita. “We latch on to the Bandits. The Bandits have shown up in our community by coming to schools, doing all the community things. Clearly we love that team and, as you can see, we’re all here to celebrate with them.”
“We’re committed to excellence. I think we care about the community and, whether you love hockey or not, there’s people out here celebrating the successes of Brooks and this team. It means a world to everyone that lives here.”
Bow River MP Martin Shields took in the festivities and recognized the hardworking community that’s committed to pitching in.
“People in this community know how to work hard, they know how to volunteer, but they know how to celebrate!” said Shields. “It is a phenomenal place with great people.”
With files from CTV’s Tyler Barrow