Tigers honour memory of Braeden Bannister

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LANTZ: Before an estimated 500 fans in the crowd at the East Hants Sportsplex in Lantz, the Hants East Rural High Tigers boys hockey team continued the healing process from the sudden death of one of their own teammates on Nov. 16.

The Tigers hosted the North Nova Gryphons in an exhibition game to help raise money and show support for the family of Braeden Bannister, a rookie on the team from Lantz who died suddenly on Nov. 1.

Braeden is remembered as a compassionate, hard working teenager who loved to help others, which led him to be a junior volunteer firefighter with Lantz Fire.

The decal on a players helmet for the Tigers. (Healey photo)
The ceremonial puck drop kicked off the game in memory of Braeden Bannister. Dropping the puck are Braeden’s parents Jeff and Angie Bannister as North Nova’s Ben Turnbull and HERH’s Caden Leonardo are ready to take it. (Healey photo)

While for a bit of the game late in the second the score was fitting at 2-1—that was what Bannister’s jersey was, no. 21—the final score ended up being 6-2 for the Gryphons. HERH ran out of gas in the third.

However, the final score isn’t what mattered on this night, something both teams agreed on.

The commemorative puck for the game. (Healey photo)

The game raised $2,539.25 for the family of Braeden, who leaves behind his dad Jeff, Mom Angie and brother Kevin. The winner of the 50/50 draw which was almost $400 alone donated that money back to the team to give to the Bannisters.

During a pre-game ceremony, the team recognized Braeden and the coaches presented Jeff and Angie with both the home and away Tiger jerseys that Braeden donned during the season. They announced that at the end of the year the no. 21 will be officially retired from the HERH Tigers boys hockey team.

HERH Tiger Chase Nicholas celebrates his goal against North Nova during an exhibition game in Lantz on Nov. 16. The game was played in honour of teammate Braeden Bannister, who died suddenly in early November. (Healey photo)

Two HERH Tigers spoke briefly to the crowd about Bannister and what he meant to them.

Following that, a ceremonial puck drop was held with the captains for the Tigers, Caden Leonardo, and the Gryphons taking the puck drop by Jeff and Angie.

Kyle Nixon of the HERH Tigers hgets his stick tangled in the skates of North Nova’s Brent Chapman during game action on Nov. 16 in Lantz. The play led to a penalty against Nixon. (Healey photo)