The Island Elite Peewee girls hockey team has had a spring season for the books, as they won their second straight tournament recently when they captured gold at the North American Classic in Winnipeg.
This, a followup to their gold medal win at Vancouver’s Challenge Cup in May.
According to team manger Jodi Barner there are five Oceansiders “on this talented team of 18 girls from Campbell River, Port Alberni, Victoria, Oceanside, Nanaimo and Peninsula, and we are very proud of them.”
Locals lacing up for the Island Elite Peewee team, made up primarily of 13 year olds, were goalie Blayre Paddock; D-girl Kyra Blyt, and forwards Katy Downey, Ashlee Barner and Brianna Leachman.
In action at the Classic June 7-10, the Islanders lost their opener 3-1 to Saskatchewan but bounced back with three straight lopsided wins — clobbering Calgary 8-1, Manitoba 6-0, and the Alberta Extreme 8-0.
The Islanders mauled Manitoba 6-1 in the semifinal, which set the table for a rematch against the host stubble-jumpers in the final.
According to Jodi, after three hard-fought periods, the two teams were deadlocked at a 1-1 score, and it took two intense overtime periods before the Islanders found the back of the net to secure the team their second Gold medal in tournament play in a month.
“I think the thing with these girls is they really wanted to play,” Elite head coach Jay Barner told The News when we caught up with him, pointing out “they worked really hard. We had about 35 hours of practice time before the tournaments.
“They played hard, they all contributed — I think every girl on the team got on the score sheet,” said their coach. “It’s quite a thrill to watch these girls play hockey.”
“They were all basically hand-picked,” he said of the high performance team, and made the point “they’re fantastic girls to work with and the parents as well, which made it even better. It was just a pleasure to go to the rink.”
The team held its windup party last Sunday. Much of the team will stay together and form a first-year Bantam team next year.