The Cariboo Cougars made history last month as one of the first major midget hockey clubs to play a regular season game outdoors.
The Winter Classic-style event, held at Ernie Sam Memorial Arena in Fort St. James, ended in a 2-2 tie with the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs, but the contest was more than a showcase in rural northern B.C.
Former Cariboo Cougar Marcus Allen told that side of the story by simply picking up a camera, hitting record, and filming the team’s endeavours leading up to once-in-a-lifetime experience for the players, coaches, and community.
“I’ve always been into videography and I wanted to do something special,” the 2016-17 BCMML Champion said to PrinceGeorgeMatters. “All these people put in this time and effort for the boys to play just one game. I wanted to show how the Cariboo Cougars put in the time in the dressing room and on the ice and how a moment like this can have that emotional and mental impact on you, knowing you’re part of history.”
Inspired by the NHL’s ‘Road to the Winter Classic’ series, the 18-year-old decided to capture every single detail from the dressing room talks and early morning wake-up calls, to the Fort St. James minor hockey camp and, of course, the game itself.
He acted alone as the cameraperson, editor, and narrator, but couldn’t help being a little envious of the current players.
“I was definitely jealous of the guys and I wish I could've been out there playing with them,” he explained, adding the mentality of the team is to prep for life through these experiences.
“It literally makes you the person you want to become and playing with the Cougars made me the man I am today. For example, it taught me being on-time, to be accountable for your actions, and it showed me the work you put in will get you the results you want nine times out of 10. That’s what these guys are learning too.”
He approached Head Coach Tyler Brough and General Manager Trevor Sprague with the idea of filming the team, saying they responded with an emphatic ‘yes.’
Allen is also from the District himself, so getting the chance to be part of the journey hit home.
“Seeing the players have an impact on those kids and having a massive influence on them was amazing to see with my own eyes. They really got the message across to Fort St. James in understanding that good things don’t come easy unless you work hard and just because you may come from a small town, that doesn’t mean you can’t do big things.”
The first of two episodes are online for the public; Allen says the second and final video is coming soon and encourages local residents to check the page regularly.