Kamloops Blazers Dylan Willick, Bronson Maschmeyer, Jordan DePape and Ryan Hanes prepare to go their separate ways on Thursday, April 19.
Kamloops Blazers bid adieu
By Marty Hastings - Kamloops This Week
Published: April 30, 2012 12:00 PM
Updated: April 30, 2012 12:05 PM
The fairy-tale run for the Ed Chynoweth Cup is over and so are the WHL careers of the Kamloops Blazers’ overage players.
“When it hits you and it’s over, all the memories just flash back and it’s something you’re going to cherish for the rest of your life,” said centre Chase Schaber, who captained the Blazers throughout the 2011-2012 campaign.
“This has been the best year of my life.
“I’ve had so much fun and I could not have asked for a better group of friends.”
Kamloops fell 2-0 in Game 7 of a Western Conference semifinal series with the Portland Winterhawks on Wednesday, April 18.
The game marked the end of an era for the injured Schaber, centre Brandon Herrod and defenceman Bronson Maschmeyer, all of whom have aged out of junior hockey.
Blazer bus driver Brennan Driedger drove through the night from Portland to Kamloops.
“We kind of came to the realization that we’re all sitting on the bus and nobody could even move,” said Blazer defenceman Austin Madaisky.
“We literally left it all out there.
“It was sad knowing that I’m never going to have a bus ride with the exact same group ever again.”
The team pulled into the Interior Savings Centre parking lot early Thursday (April 19) morning.
After logging a few hours of sleep, the players, most of whom have now gone their separate ways, said their goodbyes at ISC on Thursday afternoon.
“I was saying to Keener [Blazer play-by-play man Jon Keen] yesterday, a lot of 20-year-olds that have gone through, they get pretty emotional,” Maschmeyer told KTW on Thursday.
“For me, it wasn’t too bad. I think it’s because we’ve done good things here and it’s been fun.
“I’m proud of what we’ve done.”
Maschmeyer scored a goal that will go down as one of the most memorable in Blazer history.
The D-man from Bruderheim, Alta., scored with 21 seconds to play in Game 6 on April 16, giving his team a 7-6 win over Portland.
It topped off a third-period Blazers’ comeback that all in attendance at ISC will not soon forget.
“The house was so loud,” said Maschmeyer, the toast of The Commodore Grand Café and Lounge on Thursday night.
“I had shivers. It was probably the best feeling in hockey I’ve ever had.”
Blazer head coach Guy Charron’s face lit up when asked about the goal — and the player who scored it.
“If you had an opportunity to be with him, as I have, you hope that he’s going to get this kind of goal,” Charron said.
“He’s a very dedicated athlete and a very dedicated young man who is an unsung hero.”
Schaber, who was cut badly behind his left knee in the first round of the playoffs, will spend the summer rehabbing.
He will be seeking an offer to play professional hockey, as will Herrod, who returned to his home in Meadow Lake, Sask., last week.
Schaber, now in Red Deer, and Maschmeyer, in Bruderheim, will also be heading to Eastern Canada this summer to look at various universities with Canadian Interuniversity Sports hockey programs.
“Sure, I’m sad that junior hockey is over, but I’m also turning over a new leaf and we’ve got a new chapter ahead of us here.
“I’m just proud to be a Blazer and what we’ve changed in three years is pretty amazing.”