Who’s the greatest of all time? Which generation is better? Whose statistics are stronger? The Wally Bernard tournament has been around for 43 years. It was time to make a list of the greatest players to ever play in the tournament. Everyone was considered – young and old, NHLers, CIS stars, fighters and hometown heroes. This was not an easy list to narrow down and a lot of amazing players didn’t quite make the cut. In the end, 2 full lines were generated.
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Below is the list in no particular order:
Everett Sanipass – RW – Elsipogtog
It’s safe to say Everett Sanipass is the biggest name to ever play at the tournament. He played on Canada’s World Junior team in ’87, and was drafted 14th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in ‘86. He ended up playing in 164 NHL games and scoring 25 goals. Sanipass is a legend in the hockey world and the Native community.
Ashton Bernard – RW – Eskasoni
Bernard is a really good hockey player with very heavy hands. He played for the Huskies, Cataractes and the Screaming Eagles in the Q. He was drafted in the 6th round by the New Jersey Devils and was awarded the Addison Bernard Memorial Award for best player at the tournament in 2002.
Roddy Christmas – G – Membertou
Christmas is a Wally Bernard tournament icon. More often than not, if you ask “Who’s in nets for Membertou?” you won’t even need to look down the ice – it’s Roddy Christmas. Christmas was awarded the Addison Bernard Memorial Award for best player at the tournament in 2006.
Joseph Sandy Spence – LW – Sandy Bay
Spence, from Manitoba, made a huge impact in his 1 year playing in the tournament. He played for the MJHL Waywayseecappo Wolverines in the ’02-’03 season.
Levi Denny Jr. – G – Eskasoni
The youngest player on the list, Levi has won Ed Kabatay top goaltender at the Tournament 3 times in ’07 and ’08 and ’15. Last year Levi was drafted in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League and currently plays for the Cape Breton West Islanders.
Kalin Paul – D – Membertou
Another young gun and very solid all around defenseman. Paul played 5 seasons in the Q, 4 with Baie-Comeau Drakkar and 1 with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
Evan Levi – C – Elsipogtog
Levi is a legend who played for the Moncton Wildcats and in the East coast league.
Pat Labillois – C – Eel River Bar
Labilliois made a significant impact when he played in the tournament and went on to play with the Dalhousie Rangers.
John Frank Toney – LW – Eskasoni
Councilor John Frank Toney is an Eskasoni star. Toney played Senior A hockey in Port Hood.
Chad Denny – D – Eskasoni
Denny is the most decorated player to ever play in the tournament. Denny Played 4 seasons with the Lewiston MAINEiacs in the QMJHL and was eventually drafted 49th overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2005 NHL entry draft. He won a Presidents cup, Calder cup and CIS championship with UNB.
Mark Johnson – D – Millbrook
Johnson was an opposing force who played for the Halifax Mooseheads from ’94 – ’95.
Jerry Sack – D – Indian Brook
Sack is as old school as it gets. Having played in the tournament for countless years, Sack is an original, with an undeniable howitzer from the point.
Make sure you attend the Wally Bernard Tournament this year. Who knows, you could be watching a legend in the making. Someone, who one day will be added to the list. The tournament starts Thursday, March 3rd and ends Sunday, March 6th. For more information visit www.wallacebernard.ca.