When people ask Cody Munch where Reign Lake is, sometimes he jokes, "northern Saskatchewan."
But 'Reign Lake' doesn't exist. It's a fictional reserve Munch created for his hockey team, and to honour a 21-year-old friend who died from an accidental fentanyl overdose three years ago in Fort St. John, B.C.
"She was a mother. She had a son. I just really wanted to win this tournament in Chetwynd [B.C.] a year following her passing. So that's how we started the name 'Reign Lake,'" said the 32-year-old.
Munch says the name was inspired by real reserve names and a line from the 1994 film The Crow.
After winning the Chetwynd tournament, Munch and his teammates decided to take on the Yukon Native Hockey Tournament in Whitehorse.
This past weekend, Reign Lake won the B division at the Yukon tournament. It also took home the prize for Most Sportsmanlike Team in a field of 43 teams.
The team's jerseys have a star on the right shoulder in memory of their late friend.
"She's the star of our team," said Munch.
Kept a positive attitude
"It's pretty fast hockey up here. It's the fastest tournament I've ever played in," Munch said, in Whitehorse.
Reign Lake had only ten skaters and a goalie for the Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The team is made up of players from Fort St. John, Kelowna, Edmonton and elsewhere in Alberta.
The team was down 4-1 in the last period of the B division final. They scored another goal with less than eight minutes left.
"I just kept a positive attitude on the bench," Munch said.
Reign Lake tied it up and with an empty net goal, won the game 6-4.
"It's been a long journey the past month. A lot of things have happened personally and emotionally. We are so happy we won this tournament. We are definitely coming back next year," said Munch.