The Grand Forks Peewee Rep Team is off to a great start as it competes against strong opponents.
Head coach Darryl Turner pointed out that competing against tougher teams has helped teach the players the value of perseverance.
“We’re very excited with how we’ve been developing,” he said. “We’re six wins and eight losses so far this year and quite often there were some questions last year about whether we could have a rep team this year. What happened is we took every kid who played this year and last year and put them on the rep team.”
A co-ed team made up of 12- to 13-year-olds, the Grand Forks Peewee Rep Team recently placed third in a Tier 3 tournament in Oliver out of 11 teams.
In B.C., there are Tiers 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the bigger associations. An association that isn’t big enough to have a Tier 1 team will start with a Tier 2 team or lower. Grand Forks has a Tier 4 rep team.
“For example, last year, Trail had Tier 2 and 3 teams, but they didn’t have a Tier 4, so we’re facing off against teams that are ranked higher and we play in the league with stronger teams,” Turner said. “They have kids who are strong and are able to be competitive against their communities – we have to be quite strong to play competitively against them.”
Out of 14 games the peewee rep team has played so far, they have only had three against Tier 4 teams and 11 games have been against Tier 3 teams.
“We’re playing better competition and as a coaching staff, we’re very excited,” Turner said.
He pointed out last year’s season began with 13 losses in the team’s first 14 games.
“It was hard to convince the kids that they were doing well and that they were just competing against bigger, stronger, better teams,” he said. “As the year went on, we were .500 and we finished the year 13-12 in the last 25 games. We knew that this year we had the potential to be really good.”
This year has started off promising, as the team has already faced off against tougher teams and are holding steady.
However, Turner noted hockey not only teaches kids how to stay active but also life skills.
“It’s developing people, not just hockey players,” he said. “Things like responsibility at a young age, being prepared for the game, looking after your equipment, playing with a team and playing with each other, meeting challenges and setting goals.”
He added it’s about teaching not to give up and to keep going until they succeed.
“The kids are learning a bunch of life lessons that are really going to benefit them down the road, whether they are going to become great hockey players or great people,” he concluded.
The peewee rep team will be facing off against Spokane’s A Team (Tier 2) on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 2:45 p.m. at the Grand Forks Arena, followed by a Sunday game at Nelson.
There will be a home tournament from Feb. 8 to 10 leading up to the provincials in March that will be hosted by Grand Forks.