Four Terrace hockey players recently got to skate with the best bantams in the province as they took part in the U16 BC Cup in West Kelowna, April 12 – 15.
Tanner Braid, Colin Bell, Jack Lafroth and Keaton Gordon all participated in the jamboree-style tournament which hosted 160 bantam-age hockey players from across B.C.
Players were mixed to create eight teams who played against each other while evaluators looked to whittle the players down to a short list of 20 who will represent the province in the Western Bantam Challenge.
Scott Westgate is one of two evaluators for the north of B.C., which starts at 100 House. Westgate selected 30 players from the north this year to participate in the BC Cup at a selection camp in Vanderhoof at the end of March. A total of 86 players tried out over the weekend, which was open to any U16 players in the zone.
“The main thing we look at is skating, and after that comes passing, shooting and handling the puck,” Westgate said of qualities he was looking for in players.
“I thought they all played well,” he said of the four Terrace players selected for the next round. “They all deserved to make the list of 30.”
All four hockey players took silver this year at bantam provincials in Burnaby. Coach for the bantams Jesse Schroeder had strong praise for all the players.
He said that Braid is an agile puck moving defenceman who has good speed, and Bell is a play-making centreman who can see the ice better than any player Schroeder has ever coached.
He explained that both Gordon and Lafroth are big, strong, powerful forwards, with Gordon showing skills as a true leader and Lafroth able to play in any position.