The Grand Forks Pee Wee rep hockey team had an eventful year, culminating in a third-place finish at the Tier 4 provincials last week.
Coach Shane Gorman said the experience was great for the team, who won their first three games.
It was only in the fourth game, tired out because it was the second game of the day, that they ran into trouble and lost.
“We ended up going into the third place game which was against Dawson Creek and we went into overtime,” Gorman said.
The team scored two minutes in the extra frame for the victory.
One of the problems the team had was a short bench – it only had 12 players, two of them goalies, so that may have been a factor.
“It was one game a day for the first three days, then we played the double game and that’s kind of where it all fell a little bit flat for us, with such a low number of players,” he said.
Gorman said that the team is now ranked second on B.C. hockey rankings.
“B.C. hockey ranks it differently, they just give you a certain amount for wins, losses and ties,” he said. “Burns Lake is the one that gave us our only loss, they got nine points. Grand Forks got eight points.”
This because of their 4-1 record, in comparison to Kelowna which got seven points because of their 3-1-1 record.
Gorman is proud of the team.
“We started our Pee Wee rep hockey team with 10 players and two goalies, but only two players ever played contact before. It’s quite the accomplishment,” he said.
“The kids put in the time and so much extracurricular stuff to get in shape for that.”
This was his first year coaching Pee Wee rep.
He said that next year the Pee Wees will likely have 14 players – four more than this year.
Some of the kids went to a tryout for spring hockey in Trail on Sunday.
“All the top players form Castlegar, Nelson, Trail, Spokane, come to Trail on Sunday skate three times and try out for 15 spots,” he says.
“It’s a good experience for them, whether they make it or not, you have to succeed or fail, and you grow and get stronger from either, right?”
Assistant Coach Kevin Horne said it’s great to see the event through the kids’ eyes. “I was lucky enough to do it when I was a kid myself, so to be able to become an adult and look back on that is neat,” Horne said. He said that the team had a steady progression.
“We just watched them game by game. They won their first game, gained a little confidence, so it’s nice to see how they grew through the whole process,” he said.
He thinks that because the team was such a small team, one of the challenges was to be able play at such a high level.
“So with 10 (players) and two goalies, the challenge is to keep that attention for the whole game and still have enough energy to play for another,” he said.
Captain Evan Gorman said that for him, being able to play was the most enjoyable part of the trip.
“It was really fun, there was a couple of really good teams,” Evan, who is the coach’s son, said.
Gorman scored three goals in the first two games. Lynden Corley, one of the team’s
goalies, agrees that the games were a great experience. Corley says nerves only came into play in the first game and the last game, when he was in net during overtime.
“At the end of the game, I think it was Cruz (Tasker) who scored it, we all went down to the other end and dog-piled him,” Corley said.