Ex-National Hockey League stars Wayne Primeau and Todd Warriner wound back the years to play for the Kreuz Subsea Sharks in the Mega Ice Hockey 5’s tournament in Hong Kong between May 8 and 11.
They had a hard first introduction back on ice losing 6-1 to a top class team from Abu Dhabi called the Abu Dhabi Theebs on the evening of Tuesday May 7.
Talking with The Epoch Times about the loss to Theebs and after their match against the Singapore Manimals (which the Sharks won 7-3) on Wednesday May 8, Primeau explained their rusty start.
“I flew in at 7.30 in the morning and I had a nap in the afternoon and wasn’t feeling too good,” said Primeau, “But they worked hard.
“We got down in the first five or six minutes. Then we made a game of it in the 2nd and 3rd periods.”
Primeau, the ex-National Hockey League (NHL) star, had not played competitive hockey for three years since leaving the NHL, so it’s understandable that he might be feeling a little underdone. He was invited to play in the Kreuz Sharks, an invitational team from Singapore who entered into the Mega Ice 5’s, together with fellow NHL performer Todd Warriner.
Shel Hutton, the Captain of the Kreuz Subsea Sharks, spoke before their next match against the Hong Kong Griffins on Thursday May 9.
“It will be competitive; we have not played them, but we have watched them and they look like they are a good team,” said Hutton. “They seemed very well balanced. We will see how we go.”
Hutton was not far off the mark as the Hong Kong Griffins match was a thrilling encounter with the Sharks winning 4-1.
The Sharks then went on to beat Tokyo Canadians 6-2 on the Friday evening.
It had been a tough few days after losing their first match for the invitational Sharks. They could not afford to lose again as that would eliminate them from the knock out stage.
Their captain Shel Hutton was playing with three cracked ribs and he had had a bad fall during one of the matches, which had slowed him up a touch. But his nephew Dylan was playing exceptionally well, as were a number of other players.
The Shark’s win against the Tokyo Canadians put them in the Semi-finals against the Hong Kong Tigers on Saturday afternoon (May 11), which they won convincingly 8-1.
It was clear that they were improving with every game.
Defeating the Tigers put them in the Final against an exceptionally talented young Singapore Hawkers team.
Before the Final, Shel Hutton explained his game plan.
“Our game plan is to keep the game very close at the beginning. In the second period put the puck in deep and let them cycle it around. Third period plan is celebrations!” he said.
This was a wonderful game to watch.
A game of the highest calibre, fast attacking play, great defending and it was not clear in the early stages who would come out on top. The young and fit Hawkers or the more experienced and skilful Sharks.
The key difference seemed to be the Sharks’ defence; their goalie played a wonderful match and gradually the Sharks edged up the goals.
The Sharks No. 12, Evan Haga, scored three goals; while the defending by Todd Warriner and Jason Taylor, and the mid-engine work of Prideau, were paramount to their success.
Prideau was all over the rink, defending, chasing, distributing in expert style. Shel’s nephew, Dylan Hutton played a good attacking game, but the 4-0 final result did not reflect the superb match and the closeness of the battle.
It really was winding back the years for Prideau in particular, he was skating so smoothly for a big man and so fast on the ice. At the end he said it felt just about the same as when he finished in the NHL.
Why is it called 5’s?
There are six players on either side, so why is it called fives?
A Hong Kong Tigers’ player explained that the tournament used to be played on a smaller rink and at that time it was a five per-side tournament. When they moved to Mega Ice they retained the original name.