It was one of the greatest moments in Prince Albert, Sask., sports history.
The last time the Prince Albert Raiders advanced to the Memorial Cup was in 1985. Thirty-four years later they are returning thanks to “the goal.”
Dante Hannoun converted a pass from Noah Gregor late in the first overtime period in Game 7 of the Western Hockey League (WHL) final against the Vancouver Giants on Monday night to give the Raiders a 3-2 win and setting off a wild celebration.
“Gregs came down, it was a little late, back door pass, he put it right on my tape, and I just tapped it in,” Hannoun said of the moment.
“Honestly, I blacked out it was just slow motion. “It was unbelievable.”
Gregor, who had two goals to go along with the assist on the game-winning goal, called the goal “unreal.”
“I just found some room on the half wall, Dante was planted in front and I just kind of tried to put it on his tape,” Gregor said.
“I just threw myself up in the air as quick as I could and chased down Dante as he was at the other end already.”
Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid called the celebration a special moment between a coach and his players who he considers family.
“They are such good guys, they really are, they are good human beings. They do work in the community that no one knows about. They go to old folks homes, they go to schools, they do all that stuff not because they have to because they want to,” Habscheid said.
“Good things happen to good people, and this is great, so good on them”.
Raiders forward Parker Kelly said the championship puts the city back on the hockey map.
“I’m just glad that we finally put Prince Albert back on the hockey map as one of the best places to play,” Kelly said.
“We got rid of that stereotype that no one wants to play here. I am just so happy. This city has become part of my life. I love it, I just love it.”
The Raiders have little time to savour winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
The team boards a plane Wednesday for Nova Scotia to begin their quest for the franchise’s second Memorial Cup.
They will face the host team, the Halifax Mooseheads, to open the tournament on Friday.
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