Helicopters and hockey—together at last.
In what may be one the craziest, most beautiful videos in recent memory, a group of helicopter pilots and former WHL players collaborated to pull off a daring stunt over a frozen lake in Canada.
Spotted by Raphael Orlove of Jalopnik.com, the footage shows a small helicopter skating over the lake at high speed. The 'copter skims along on what appears to be empty open ice, but human figures soon appear on the horizon—the figures of hockey players.
In a flash, the helicopter slips through what appears to be a random game of pond hockey. The players skate out of the way and no one is hurt.
Most viewers seeing the video for the first time probably have two stages of reaction. The initial impression is “Whoa, that’s awesome.” The second stage is “Hmm, that could’ve ended poorly.”
Indeed, the viral video shocked and incensed viewers who believed the pilot had raced through a game of hockey as a joke. The truth, however, is that the stunt was a meticulously planned effort of willing parties, all whom wanted to make the most Canadian video ever.
Bradley Friesen, the pilot of the helicopter, defended the video to members of the media.
"I'm standing behind what we did," said Friesen, per Jonathan Woodward of CTV British Columbia News. "It was the ultimate Canadiana, to be in the mountains playing pond hockey."
Friesen has been flying for 20 years and even wrote a statement to authorities explaining the days of planning that went into the stunt. In true Canadian fashion, he sent a notice to Transport Canada before the hubbub surrounding the video had even begun.
“I’m sure this is unusual for a pilot to essentially call enforcement on himself, but I put a video online yesterday that I feel might need some explanation,” Friesen wrote.
Friesen went on to explain he and a group of experienced pilots and former WHL players planned the stunt, measured the thickness of the ice and surveyed the smoothness of the surface to ensure no problems would occur.
He even posted rocking behind-the-scenes footage to prove he wasn’t flying around trying to kill random hockey players.
Oh, Canada—never stop being you.
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