All three of the Tier 3 Rep teams of the Terrace Minor Hockey Association (TMHA) have won the 2018-19 Northwest Division Zone Championships and are moving forward.
The Midgets, Bantams and the Peewees have fought their way to the top and will be competing at their provincial championships over the spring break.
Mitch Shinde, assistant coach of the Bantam team, says that they have confidence that they will place well in the provincial tournaments but they don’t want to get too comfortable yet.
“We’re going there expecting to win,” says Shinde. “We don’t expect it to be easy by any stretch [and] we’re not fooling ourselves, it will be difficult.”
With their team beating the Northwest District 9-1 in their final game two weeks ago, Shinde says the Bathams are always up for competition and enjoy the challenged.
This season, their team has had 40 wins and only two losses.
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“[The kids like] competition, pushing themselves and seeing what they’re capable of,” says Shinde. “What they [also] really like is scoring goals, but they like to be in games that are competitive.”
He says compared to the rest of the Northwest region, their team is a little more advanced, and the other regional teams haven’t been able to meet their skill level.
Bantam is also when the boys learn how to play with contact. Shinde says it’s been a big adjustment for them but they’ve managed to deliver.
“My favourite part of being a coach is seeing the kids improve,” says Shinde, who has been helping the team for almost nine years.
As for the Midgets team, it won’t be their first time on top.
Having competed in the provincials for the last three years in a row, with one of those crowned titles granted when it was held in Terrace in 2017, coach Joshua Murray says that their team has a lot of older players who are eager to win again.
“It would be huge [to win],” says Murray. “The [older] group has had some success in the provincials and it was a pretty cool experience for them. The guys who haven’t had that opportunity, it would be great to have them experience it as well.”
Murray says that after this season, they will have approximately 10 players graduating from minor hockey. With this being the final big game on ice for a lot of them, he says they’re just focused on being the best they can be.
“We already have some of our strategies, games plans and tactics that we’ve been practicing all year,” says Murray. “These next couple of weeks, we’re waiting to fine tune it all.”
But Murray adds that says that he hopes that the players have also taken some other skills away from their time in the league.
“I think there’s a lot of things in hockey that you can definitely apply to life like teamwork and work ethic… [and] there are definitely guys who could go away and play junior hockey next year if they choose to do that [too].”
The Bantam’s provincial tournament will be held in Port Hardy, B.C. from March 17-20.
The Midget’s provincial tournament will be held in Cranbrook, B.C. from March 17-20.
The Peewees’s provincial tournament will be held in Powell River, B.C. from B.C. March 16-21.