From zip-lining across incredible heights to playing some of the best teams the Lower Mainland has to offer to taking in a Vancouver Canucks game, it was a trip to remember for the Prince Rupert Peewee rep Sea Wolves team last week.
Playing in the Hometown Heroes Spring Tournament in Maple Ridge, B.C., and finishing sixth at the Peewee Tier 4 level, the Sea Wolves proudly represented the North Coast, making the consolation final against the Nanaimo Clippers, who they lost to 2-1, but who they also played their best games against. The rest of the teams were the Comox Valley Chiefs, the North Okanagan Knights and the Clippers.
Despite not winning a game versus Northwest competition all year, the brave Peewees put on a show versus the Clippers in their last game with Nic Pirillo notching the lone goal for Rupert and Brevin Jack standing on his head in goal for the 2-1 loss.
“[Jack] was as good as I’ve ever seen him,” said head coach Derek Northcott.
“All in all I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t put in a good effort.”
It was a satisfying season-ending trip for the Sea Wolves who have had a tough go of it trying to get in the win column this year. Along with the consolation final game, the Sea Wolves also played to a 7-1 loss versus Comox in the first game, a 6-3 loss to North Okanagan and another close 3-2 loss to Nanaimo.
“I think [the trip’s] going to help them. It kind of opens their eyes in all sorts of ways. We don’t see a lot of different competition, we play the same teams over and over again [in Prince Rupert], so it gives them a chance to see what else is out there,” said Northcott.
“The Canucks game was nice. We played our last game and that was kind of the grand finale.”
During the Vancouver game against Anaheim, in which the Canucks topped the Ducks 2-1, the Sea Wolves were more than once featured and mentioned on the jumbo-tron, gaining the boys their 15 seconds of fame in the province’s biggest hockey stage.
The team also gathered at Wildplay Element Parks (an extreme airpark) in Maple Ridge for some outdoor fun and activities.
“It’s team-building when you go on trips like this. You want the kids to all come together and help one another and when we were at Wildplay, some kids encouraged others because some were afraid of heights, so they encouraged everyone on,” said team organizer Lisa Pirillo.
“When they bond like that off the ice they seem to play better on the ice.”
Braeden Anderson scored in the game versus Comox with the lone assist going to Ben Northcott.
In the match against North Okanagan, Luke Rabel found the net, as did Nic Pirillo two times while tallying an assist. Arlen Deschamp notched an assist of his own.
Defence partners Pirillo and Northcott each scored again in the final round robin game against Nanaimo and Anderson assisted. Jack was a steadying presence all week for the Sea Wolves in net.
“I think they really enjoyed it. Of course, they’re a little upset they didn’t win any games, but they snapped out of it pretty quickly and they were OK about it. It wasn’t the end of the world and they didn’t get mad, they just tried again the next game,” said Lisa.
Nic Pirillo, Ben Northcott, Jack and Ashton Shepert were named players of the game for each match for the Sea Wolves.
The team is considering repeating the trip next year if parent enthusiasm for fundraising matches this year’s efforts and they’re thankful for all donors to the fundraising cause including Hawkair, the Aquilini Development group, A & G Autobody and Prince Rupert citizens.