You may have tucked away your snow shovel by now — but there’s still some important hockey news to be covered.
Hope’s peewee C1 Wildcats capped off a banner year by winning five straight games, to win a 12-team tournament in West Kelowna, March 23 to 25.
Coach Kevin Duncan said the team had a record of 25 wins, seven losses and one tie this year. They won the Fraser Valley East banner for their league play — and a single loss in the playoffs kept them from earning another title.
“I’ve coached eight years in Hope and I coached my older son Andrew, back in Ontario. He’s 32 now and he helps with the team,” Duncan said.
Was this his best team so far in Hope?
“Well, put it this way: this is the first time my son Skylar has ever won anything, in hockey,” Duncan said.
The Wildcats’ successes came despite being a young team, with less than half of them moving on to bantam next year.
“We had three 10-year-olds join us in September,” said the coach. “It’s supposed to be for age 11 and 12 but they had to be evaluated to be moved up.”
The addition of the three gave the team a roster of 14, so they would have had a pretty thin bench without the help.
Duncan said it was also a good year for Hope’s midget C Wildcats, as they secured top spot in their playoffs.
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Seventeen-year-old Dawson Pelletier started his hockey career in Hope, before heading to Chilliwack for peewee rep. This season, he was selected to play goalie for the Langley-based Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the 11-team BC Major Midget League.
In an October story here, Pelletier said, “My goal I’m shooting for is to be on a junior A team next season. After that, university would be ideal.”
Nothing’s ever a guarantee — but Pelletier’s results this year should have caught the attention of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, the BCJHL team he is affiliated with.
Pelletier wasn’t available for an interview before press time but his dad, Brad was able to fill in how the season has gone.
“Unbelievable!” was the first word that came through the phone line, Tuesday.
“They played the Cariboo Cougars for the BC championships in Prince George, Friday and Saturday night. The Cougars were the higher seed, so they got to host,” said Brad, speaking from his Sixth Avenue Sports store.
There could have been a third game, Sunday night — but two games were all the T-Birds needed to win the title, the first-ever for the team.
“It’s the first time they’ve even gotten out of the first round,” said Brad.
Dawson got the start in both games, backstopping the team to 5-2 and 4-2 wins.
“Dawson played in six out of seven games in the playoffs,” added Brad. “He finished with a 5-and-1 record and 1.74 goals against per game.”
At the 25-team Mac’s tournament in Calgary during the Christmas break, Dawson was selected as the top goaltender out of over 50 goalies and was named to the first all-star team.
Dad stayed home to mind the store last weekend but was able to watch the live streaming game broadcasts on his computer.
“I got a video of the team bus honking the horn through town, before they dropped off Dawson,” said Brad, laughing.
Dawson was down-valley, Tuesday, trying to source out his favoured sticks, which he’ll need this weekend.
The Thunderbirds are hosting the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a best-of-three series to determine the Pacific regional champion. The winner goes on to the Canadian National Midget Championships in Sudbury, Ont., April 23-29.
Times and locations for this weekend’s games are TBA. Check the T-Bird’s site at fvthunderbirds.com.
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