Baldwin-Buffet memorial hockey tournament goes this weekend

Dave Kearsey
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COX’S COVE  Shiann Park has played goal in a lot of cool tournaments against some of the top female players in her age group in Atlantic Canada, but nothing will compare to the special weekend that awaits her.

Park, a 22-year-old multi-sport athlete from Cox’s Cove, will be the first female hockey player to suit up in the annual Mark Baldwin Tommy Buffett Memorial Hockey Tournament this weekend at the Marshall-Moores Arena.

That’s a special occasion for Park because she grew up heavily involved with helping out at the annual tournament. She was a familiar sight, doing everything from doing the scoresheets in the timer’s box to singing Canada’s national anthem. She wanted to strap on the pads for the tournament for a number of years previous, but it never materialized even though her father, Darren Park, had a team entered in it. This year, good old dad, who admitted he has pondered giving up playing in the tournament because he’s hit the 50 mark, gave her the thumbs up to play net for his Island Roofing entry.

“Finally, finally,” she said when asked about the chance to play on her dad’s team.

Park was a bundle of enthusiasm when contacted by The Western Star to talk about flying home from St. John’s to immerse herself in the crease in her hometown. She was busy packing her clothes for the journey.

“I cannot wait honestly. I’m on pins and needles here pacing the floor,” Park said from St. John’s Thursday afternoon.

“I played in some pretty cool tournaments and I met a lot of cool people, but I believe this tournament is most special to me,” she said, alluding to how she grew up with the tournament.

Her dad shares the excitement of what the weekend holds. Darren Park has watched his daughter patrol the crease for years, travelling with her to tournaments all over Newfoundland and Labrador.

He admits the tournament is a special event because it recognizes two men who gave a lot back to their community, but having a chance to share the ice with his daughter is something that really makes him emotional and adds another element for him.

“I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas morning to come,” he said. “Now at my age to have a privilege to play on her team will be a treat for me this weekend let me tell you.”

Park said the tournament will feature some pretty good hockey and a lot of teams want to win. That’s just fine with him because he still has a burning in his belly, but he insists this weekend is all about sharing a good time with Shiann because it’s something he has wanted to do for some time now. Shiann’s approach to the crease this weekend is pretty straight forward.

“Well it’s all about the fun of the game and I have the biggest passion for hockey, it’s my favourite sport. But I’m Darren Park’s daughter, I’m going to be competitive, it won’t be all for fun,” she said with a hearty chuckle.

Island Roofing is one of six teams participating in the three-day tournament that gets underway today at Marshall-Moores Arena. For a tournament schedule see today’s Scoreboard on page 14.

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Darren Park, Western Star

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