“See What, Seawolves, See What, Seawolves” was the chant led by Tom Hogman followed by over 100 family, friends and fans of Prince Rupert’s own Canadian Fishing Company’s Midget Rep Tier 3 hockey team at the Provincials held in Osoyoos last week.
“The team is really well-rounded, we really had no weaknesses. We have an excellent team from the goal-tending right through. Goal-tending, defense, and forwards were equally as strong.” explained Coach Bart Kuntz and Roger Atchinson via telephone in an exclusive interview with the Prince Rupert Northern View.
Captain Tyler Girbav led the team in their Provincial run, along with assistant captain Josh Kierce, who Kuntz described as the Seawolves’ most consistent player. “Kierce was a big part of our team, and was an inspirational leader on the ice,” Said Kuntz. Girbav commented “We were well managed by our coaches; the parents support played a big part, and the extra team push, contributed to our success and we accelerated during Provs.”
The Seawolves first line set the tone for each game, winning the puck and controlling the first shift led by Josh Kierce (Kierce), strong stick handling from Jordan Weir (Weir) and the big presence of Jordan Aubee (Big Pun). The second line adds support as a hard hitting, goal scoring line consisting of Captain Tyler Girbav (Girbav), Jadyn Archer (Archer) and Brady Ward (Cherry). The third “grinder line” brought grit and speed led by Kenny-Ree Hembling (Spicoli), Bryce Meers (Mule), Ben Mark (Benny) and Jordan Vendittelli (JVan). The Seawolves defence is backed by smart, hard hitting, strong skaters led by line mates: Tyler Ostrom (Osty), Marcus Atchison (Hatch) and Sten Sundin (Stench), Greg Loroff (Rattler). The Seawolves are backed by two strong goalies Colby Hogman (Hog Rider) and Colten Cann (Colt). The team brought along two speedy Bantam Reps Austin Weir (Mini-Weir) and Cole Atchison (Cole) who saw game time as the coaches added a fourth line in and out during the round robin.
The Seawolves landed in Division A alongside, Kelowna, West Vancouver, Creston and Dawson Creek. The Seawolves tied their first game against Kelowna (4-4), defeated the remainder of teams: West Van (6-3), Creston (6-2), Dawson Creek (7-0 Colten Cann in for the shut out) to take the top spot with Kelowna in the second who also ended with a record of 3 wins and 1 tie. Rupert took the top spot as they had better goals for and against average. In Division B, Quesnel and Kerry Park (Cowichan Valley) took the number one and two spots after playing teams from South Okanagan, Kaslo (Nelson), Whitehorse, and Abbotsford.
The Seawolves completely dominated Kerry Park in the semi-finals by 8-0 (Colby Hogman in for the shut out) and put themselves in the top spot facing off against Kelowna, as Kelowna defeated Quesnel 7-2. On Friday evening, the Seawolves received an encouraging email from retired-hockey superstar Trevor Linden, who has kept in contact with many of Prince Rupert Minor Hockey Association’s players after making a visit to the community last year. Linden sent motivational words to the boys to help give them confidence before facing off for the championship final game.
The final game was intense, with both teams pushing themselves hard to win the title of Provincial Champions. Kelowna scored the first goal in the first period and Rupert fought hard with many scoring opportunities, finishing hits and solid goal tending by Colby Hogman. The Seawolves answered with a goal half way through the second from Bryce Meers assisted by Kenny Ree-Hembling and Ben Mark. The second period ended at 3-2 with a shorthanded goal from Josh Kierce and a slap shot from Marcus Atchison, assisted by Josh Kierce. The Seawolves dominated the third period, however Kelowna snuck in a goal with 1:36 was left on the clock leaving the teams tied 3-3. In overtime, Josh Kierce made a pass to Jordan Aubee who took a perfect one timer, however the Kelowna goalie made one of those “No Way” glove saves. The Seawolves played a perfect game, owning the puck (literally for Hatch) but after seven minutes into overtime, Kelowna charged the net and shot, one unfortunate bounce, landed that puck back on his stick to get the game winner. Kelowna over Rupert 4-3.
During the ceremony, the Seawolves earned the Fairplay Award for sportsmanship, discipline, and least penalties in a competitive tournament. The commentator thanked both teams for such a well-played, exciting and clean game of hockey. The Seawolves accepted their medals with dignity, congratulated the opponents and thanked the officials. Adding to that, Kelowna coaches, players and parents stood in the parking lot and cheered the Seawolves team as their bus left the Osoyoos Arena.
Upon returning to Prince Rupert, the team also received a positive message from Brenda Froese, Tournament Coordinator Osoyoos, “Not only did you have the least penalty minutes in round robin play, you were the best behaved in the hotel and in the arena. I was able to speak to a few of the players as they walked in or out of the arena and they are fine young gentlemen. Because of their parents support and their coaches’ guidance, these young men will excel in life far beyond their expectations. I know it is a disappointment not having “gold” around your neck but receiving the Fairplay award is far more impressive to me. You may have all the talent in the world for hockey but you won’t get anywhere without the desire and etiquette that all of you possess. I truly wish the best for your boys as they continue in their hockey career and know they will succeed in whatever they choose to do.”
These boys are now looking forward to a friendly match up this weekend between Charles Hays Team Thunder (Capt. Jadyn Archer) versus Charles Hays Team Lightening (Capt. Ben Mark) this Friday March the 30th at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.