The Monsignor Clair Cup is in the books and the 21st annual Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board hockey tournament had the Barrie Molson Centre buzzing Wednesday afternoon.
The annual battle pits Barrie Catholic high school hockey teams against each other, including the St. Joan of Arc Knights, St. Joseph's Jaguars and St. Peter’s Panthers.
The event was started over 20 years ago by current St. Joan of Arc teacher Tim Hasenack and the now-retired Vince Cardarelli.
Hasenack told BarrieToday that it started out of a love of sport, but also something more.
“We started 21 years ago to build up school spirit at the schools and has seen some changes along the way,” said Hasenack. “It was just the boys game in 1998 and the girls game in ’99, to boys in 2000 and girls in 2001 before having both starting in 2002.
"Then St. Joan of Arc joined in 2008 and we’re here now with the three-team format," he added. "The owner of the Cup holds it and the other two teams have to challenge for it through challenge games.”
Monsignor Clair was a priest who built and opened the first Catholic school in Simcoe County and now lends his name to the challenge series’ trophies.
The on-ice competition is just one side of it, as the students in attendance also get dressed up in school colours and chant, cheer and dance during games and intermission.
Jennifer Lemieux is the leadership teacher at St. Peter's and helps out with the day’s school spirit.
“We’re always really proud of our school spirit and feel we are tops in that area,” she said. “In 2009, we brought a dance into the mix and since then we’ve always had a dance at intermission and of course today will have much more with lights and chants.
"It is a real sight to be seen.”
St. Peter's was the holder of both trophies heading into Wednesday’s games, but left with only the boy’s title as St. Joan of Arc took home top honours in the girls' division.