Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Prince Rupert Minor Hockey celebrates championship success

“It wasn’t just a team thing, it was a community win,” Canfisco Seawovles assistant coach Bruce Tessier.

With a couple of championship banners destined for the Civic Centre rafters, the celebration of Prince Rupert’s year of hockey will be underway.

The Daily News provided a recap of the local minor hockey programs week of success with a Monday edition story.

Hockey players score top provincial accolade
By Patrick Witwicki
The Daily News
Monday, march 24, 2008
Pages one and six

It’s been a year to remember for Prince Rupert minor hockey.

Barely a day after the Prince Rupert bantam A Wamplers hockey team won the city’s first-ever provincial banner, the midget A Canfisco Seawolves went out and followed their lead, defeating Beaver Valley 5-4 Thursday night to win the midget A provincials.

Needless to say, it was an Easter weekend of celebrations for Prince Rupert minor hockey.

“It wasn’t just a team thing, it was a community win,” said assistant coach Bruce Tessier.

With the score 4-2, Beaver Valley, the host squad, managed to jam a goal home with 7:29 remaining.

But it took only 25 seconds for Rupert to reply, as Forrest Shale connected on a set-up by Jarod Meers – both players are in their final year of minor hockey – to give the team a two goal cushion, and that would be it, as the goal turned out to be the winner.

Beaver Valley scored to make it 5-4 with 24 seconds left and their goaltender on the bench, but Rupert was able to kill the final few seconds to clinch the victory.

“The last 24 seconds, it was just erasing the clock,” said Tessier. “(Joseph) Repole ate the puck along the boards and we killed it.

“And then all hell broke loose. Glove went flying, sticks were everywhere… it was a joy to see. It was a very emotional ending.

It was a memorable 24 hours, to say the least. After the bantam A team celebrated their banner Wednesday night in Mackenzie after their overtime victory over Golden, the team called the midget A squad for support.

And the midget A team was intent on following in their footsteps, arriving at the arena 90 minutes prior to Thursday night’s final to prepare for the game.

“The boys were going over their own game plans before the game,” said Tessier.

“They were completely psyched, and there was no mental lapse.”

That definitely seemed to be the case, as Rupert opened the scoring 46 seconds into the game, and never trailed throughout the contest.

Rupert then went up 2-0, before the conclusion of the first period.

But the Seawolves didn’t let up, and led 4-2 after two periods of play heading into the final frame.

And that’s when Prince Rupert minor hockey really started to coordinate the celebrations.

“Before the game, we had the bantams on the cellphones,” said Tessier. “and then in that third period, there was text-messaging going back and forth.

“When the buzzer went in our game, the bantam A’s pulled into the (Jim Ciccone) parking lot .”

Goaltender Jordan van der Wiel got the win.

So in addition to the huge celebratory welcome the bantam A team received at the local rink, they were able to add to the festivities by announcing that the midget A had just won another provincial banner.

Tessier said that hearing how the bantam A’s had wont he night before certainly helped the midget A team prepare, as they wanted to make it a prefect two-for-two in provincial banners.

“It was great when we heard about the bantams,” said Tessier. “The guys were just going berserk when that buzzer went off.”

Rupert then arrived back home Friday afternoon at the HawkAir office, to a similar reception that the bantams received.

Players from the bantam A team were in attendance with their new prize - the provincial banner – which made a nice match with what the midget A team had in their hands, also a provincial banner.

In addition, players from the Rupert Atom Development team, who were getting ready to host a tournament of their own (which they won – see full story in Thursday’s edition of the Daily News) were there to welcome their heroes home.

“It’s great,” said Tessier. “Now there’s something in our arena for the young kids to build for.

“It’s hard to put into words.”

Rupert had won 10-1 over Tumbler Ridge earlier in the day to finish the round robin with a 5-1 record.
Beaver Valley, meanwhile, reached the final thanks to their victory Thursday afternoon over Nakusp which also gave them a 5-1 record.

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