Battling for the Cheddar Cup

Students combine love of reading and love of hockey

Published on February 17, 2014

Jon Sim remembers reading Mice at Centre Ice when he was an elementary student. Fanatical about hockey, it was one of the books that grabbed his attention. For a kid it was inspirational.


Sim, who in 1999 was part of The Stars Stanley Cup winning team, has made a career as a professional hockey player and is happy that now his own son Landon and his classmates are reading that same book that combined a love for reading with a love for hockey.

Teachers there, Jane Williams and Heather Coulter said it’s one of those books that Pictou County’s kids have gravitated towards for years. First published in the1980s, the book is written by Estelle Salata and tells the story of Benny the Bullett and his Mouse Hockey Leaguers who are trying to recover the stolen Cheddar Cup from the Rink Rats.

“It’s an old novel that has endured because of the theme – the hockey that so many of the children love,” Wiliams said.  “It’s one you can’t put away in the archives because they love it and respond to it.”

As teachers they’re happy when they find any book that makes a child want to read. To add to the interest, they had the students play three floor hockey games with the triumphant class winning the coveted Cheddar Cup.

The championship game was held Monday and there was loud cheers as the teams battled back and forth in a closely contested game.

“This year because Landon Sim is in my class, we just thought what a great opportunity because Jon (Sim) is around and he’s such a great role model in the community,” Coulter said. “He’s been here for all our games being our honourary referee.”

Sim said he’s always enjoyed getting to give back in this way and especially here in his hometown. He took some time to read part of the book to the students.

Jack Noftall, a Grade 4 student said he liked the book and getting to play the games. He talked about how the mice had to get the cup from the Rink Rats.

Erin MacNeil, is one of the many female hockey players in the school and said she liked getting to compete for their own Cheddar Cup in the school gym.

“It’s really fun,” she said.

Landon Sim also enjoyed the book.

“I like how it’s about hockey,” he said.

Like father, like son.

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