by Jonathan Weaver
The final score was only part of the story to the December 26th hockey game between the Belmont Boys and the North Park All-Stars
Yes, the Belmont Boys pushed past a back-and-forth tie to win 4-3 in overtime, but some who were not able to attend the game won the most since the game raised more than $300 for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Donations were collected at the door and by players during the 37th annual Children’s Hospital Benefit Game at the Belmont Complex in East Franklin Township – which was organized by Complex Director Gary Montebell and his late father, Hugo.
“We just play to raise the money and have fun,” Montebell said. “We just kept score, not who scored.”
Gary’s roommate and teammate at Penn State University – Bob Holdcroft, of the North Hills – skated against him in the loss.
“The few games that (the Belmont Boys) have won over the years seem to have come down to the wire,” Holdcroft said.
Holdcroft’s daughter, Lindsay, played goaltender. Lindsay, of New Hampshire played for the Dartmouth (College) Big Green.
Holdcroft’s brother, Tim, daughter (and Bob’s niece) Jill and son (and Bob’s nephew) Rob also played in the game. They all live in the State College area.
“That’s one of the great things about this game – it’s always played between Christmas and New Years, so it’s an opportunity for our kids, our families, to be in-town even if they’re spread out,” Bob said.
Holdcroft said the All-Stars also included other younger athletes.
“(The hockey game) is always competitive,” Holdcroft said. “We want it to be back-and-forth.
“This year’s game was the best game in recent memory. Two evenly-matched teams playing hard and playing well.”
That first game was held in 1977 against the Royal Travelers, but later became a yearly game between the Belmont Boys – made up of mostly-Armstrong Arrows – and All-Stars, who knew each other as players played in high school or amateur programs.
At the 30th matchup, the series was deadlocked at 15-15, but now the former-North Park team has a slight series advantage even though the Belmont Boys won last week.