A helicopter pilot from British Columbia set up one of the most incredible outdoor games to have ever taken place. Bradley Friesen, 42, brought together a number of big league talents, including Manny Malhotra, to play a game of shinny on a rink 5,500 feet above sea level.
For anyone who loves hockey, there’s almost nothing better than throwing together an impromptu pickup game on a fresh sheet of ice with a few friends. One thing that would be better than that, though, is if those few friends included some former big league talent, if the rink was on a mountain top and if you were airlifted to the rink by a helicopter.
It sounds like a pipe dream, but 42-year-old Bradley Friesen, who is a helicopter pilot, pulled the game of a lifetime off thanks to some help from a few friends. And thanks to a few cameras, the entire adventure was shot in beautiful, crisp high-definition that’s enough to kick every hockey player’s envy into high gear:
Friesen spoke with the New York Times’ Gerald Narciso about the game in early December and said it was something that had to be done.
“A few years ago, when everything froze in Vancouver, I was up flying and found perfect black ice,” Friesen told Narciso. “I filmed some guys skating on it with the GoPro, and it was some of the most amazing footage I’ve ever seen. I immediately got this idea in my head that I wanted to build a rink on the mountain at some point.”
Friesen’s journey to make the game come true spanned three years, he told Narciso, and it finally came true thanks to a chance encounter with current Lake Erie Monster Manny Malhotra, who Friesen met during a helicopter ride. Friesen told Narciso he explained the idea to Malhotra who then said he would help Friesen make the game a reality.
The outdoor spectacle finally happened Nov. 28 on Pitt Lake, B.C., and the breathtaking footage was just released this past week by Friesen. It may be hard to pick them out, but players involved in the game include Malhotra, Geoff Courtnall, Keith Seabrook and Jim Vandermeer. It seems like the outing would have cost a king’s ransom to set up, but Friesen told Narciso it only took roughly $500.
“I skated over to one of my buddies, and I just said, ‘I can’t believe we’re actually pulling this off right now,’ ” Friesen told Narciso. “It was so surreal to me.”