When they faced nothing but hometown teams, they couldn’t do anything but lose, but when they faced nothing but strangers all they could do was win.
Quesnel’s U13 Team Blue squad wasn’t sure what to expect when they signed up for the Ethan Blacker Memorial Tournament in Prince George. They had only managed a single W all season. Somehow, the tides turned and they are coming home with a shiny new gold medal around their necks.
“We just lost a game at home 20 to nothing, so spirits were low,” said head coach Marc Boudreau. “Before we played our first game of this tournament, the energy was poor, but then that first came, then the second, then the whole tournament just seemed to come to us, so hopefully we can take that home with us and have some momentum.”
They defeated the Mackenzie entry in that first game, then Prince George Green, and followed that up with a third consecutive victory over Prince George Blue. That ensured they were going to the finals where they again encountered Mackenzie.
The final score was 8-3 to earn the tournament trophy.
For some of the players, they not only experienced a winning streak for the first time, but several game pucks were taken as souvenirs because those athletes had never scored a goal before.
“We’re feeling pretty good about the enrolment numbers, bouncing out of the pandemic,” said Boudreau. “And we are seeing a lot of fresh faces and I don’t know what to base that on, but it’s pretty cool to see kids trying out hockey who never played it before in an organized sort of way. When they score, it’s really exciting to be part of that.”
There are three teams this year in Quesnel Minor Hockey Association’s U13 division.