It was a successful trip to Alberta for Whitehorse Minor Hockey’s Peewee Development Program Black Aces who went undefeated at a peewee tournament hosted by the Wetaskiwin Minor Hockey Association from Jan. 10 to 12 in Wetaskiwin, Alta.
The team was 4-0 in tournament play, including an 11-1 win in the final and — perhaps more impressively — a win with 12 different names in the goals column.
Head coach Mark King said the team was placed in a tier that wasn’t really a great match because of the differences between the way B.C., where Whitehorse-based teams typically travel, and Alberta rank hockey teams.
“We were used to some B.C. tiers and the Alberta tier was not really what we expected,” said King. “But the kids, they played well regardless.”
The team rolled four lines the entire weekend, something King said is a key to the whole program.
“Really it’s just about a little bit more of a competitive hockey (than house league), but it’s still mostly based on just fun and even play,” said King. “(It’s) a little bit different than the rep programs traditionally are.”
Although the tournament took up the majority of the weekend, King said there was a bit of time to do other things earlier in the trip, including a trip to the West Edmonton Mall and an exhibition game in New Sarepta, Alta., against, coincidentally, the team that the Black Aces wound up beating in the final days later.
“We went to the West Edmonton Mall before and (the players) went to the Fantasyland and did the amusement park there and some of them did the water park and some of them did mini golf,” said King. “Just the time of their lives.”
On the ice, the team’s 3-0 record after pool play ranked them first in the pool and put them into the final against the two seed for the tournament win.
Leading the way in scoring for the Black Aces were Adam Ireland with 21 points, AJ Boyd with 15 points and Cashe Grefford with 13 points.
King said the team’s win with 12 different scorers was the highlight from the weekend.
“That really sums up what our whole team has been about,” said King. “Everyone is taking their turn and there were no egos, really, and 12 different goal scorers. It was good to see.”
That whole attitude carried through the entire tournament.
“It was a different play of the game every time,” said King. “There were a couple of standouts, but overall it was really even. Lots of passing and sharing and the ice time was all even.”
The team was recently granted formal approval to compete at the B.C. Provincial Championships in March.
“Our next goal is going to be … (Tier 4 B.C. Provincial Championships),” said King. “So the (Whitehorse Mustangs) won Tier 3, so we’re going to Tier 4 this year. It’s a great fit and I think it shows the success of the development program.”
The Peewee Tier 4 B.C. Provincial Championships are March 14 to 19 in Golden, B.C. and the team is already preparing.
“We’re expecting a lot better competition,” said King.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org