LUNENBURG, N.S. — Young players of a Halifax-area hockey team faced off with an unusual opponent as they took the ice for a game over the weekend: a very steep step.
The seven- and eight-year-olds had trouble navigating the deep drop, and many of the Bedford Blues novice hockey players fell as their skates hit the ice in Lunenburg, N.S., to play against the South Shore Lumberjacks.
Assistant coach Jesse Rodgers captured the adorable and hilarious scene in a video that has now gone viral.
The 37-second clip shows players stepping — and then falling — onto the ice one-by-one, with some spinning around on their knees before quickly getting up and skating off.
At least one player navigated the drop without falling, throwing his arms in the air in celebration.
"They were just having fun," said Rodgers, whose eight-year-old son plays on the team. "It's a big jump."
Rodgers said the team played at the rink on Friday, and the coaches helped the players onto the ice. But they watched as the other team — who were more familiar with the rink — step onto the ice without any trouble.
"On Saturday, they wanted to do it too. They were all excited," said Rodgers, adding that the step was waist-high for some players.
Rodgers said the clip he posted to Facebook has been viewed nearly 85,000 times, while reposts of the video have garnered hundreds of thousands of views on social media. It was picked up Sportsnet and the popular hockey podcast Spittin' Chiclets, which has 542,000 followers on Instagram.
"People are just loving it and finding it hilarious," he said. "It just keeps going and going and going."
He said the attention was a surprise — he initially posted it so family members who live abroad could see. But he's glad it shows the kids having fun, the ultimate goal for that level of hockey.
Ironically, the kids have dubbed their team "The Beasts."
"That makes it even better," said Rodgers with a laugh. "They look so excited about it in the video and I think people find that adorable."
The Canadian Press