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Total Ice Titans capture gold in Alberta

The team is the 2022 Hockey Super League U14 champions
Total Ice Titans won gold at the 2022 Hockey Super League U14 champions in Edmonton on Sunday, March 6. Making up the team are coach Mike Ernst, back row from left, manager Leslie Rowse, coach Jhed Gerrior, players Carter Krueger, Dawson Ernst, Liam Richardson, Ben Fofonoff, Rhys Marchand, Andrew Lindsay, Dawson Rowse, Riley Lettington, Kaelen Swanson, Brock Dikur and head coach Tyrel Lucas. Coach Parnel Pinette, front row from left, players Jaxson Dikur, Asher Lucas, Marcus Domhof, Linden Pinette, Colton Gerrior, Jayden Campbell, Kacey Huffman and Blake Lambe. (Photo submitted)

Emerging as the 2022 Hockey Super League U14 champions in Edmonton on Sunday, March 6, was an awesome way to end the year for the Total Ice Titans from Williams Lake, said Tyrel Lucas, the team’s head coach.

Made up of players from Williams Lake and Quesnel, the Titans won all their games during the weekend, netting a 3-1 win over the Eagles Hockey Academy from Calgary in the final game.

Four players on the team are from Quesnel. Dawson Ernst, Riley Lettington Liam Richardson Jayden Campbell play for the Titans, and Mike Ernst serves as the team’s equipment manager and trainer.

Going into the finals, the Titans were in second place for points per game during the regular season.

There were two pools for the finals and the Titans played both teams in pool B, which put them to finish first seed in the playoffs.

In the semi-final game against the Calgary Crusaders, the Titans won 6-4.

“We wanted to play the Eagles Hockey Academy. We had lost two and won two against them in the regular season so we obviously knew it was going to be a very close game.”

In the first period, the Eagles scored the first goal and the Titans took a five-minute penalty.

“We rallied back and got another two goals and then got our third goal in the second period and then we finished 3-1.”

This was the team’s third year in the league, but due to COVID-19 there were not as many games as would have normally occurred.

“We continued practicing all season long and this year things opened back up again and we increased our practice schedule with daytime ice time. More of an academy-type model with practicing and programming,” Lucas explained of ways the team came together this year. “We were pretty much on the ice daily or in the gym.”

Lucas praised the players, saying they play like a team and would do anything for each other.

“They are a close group of parents and coaches and the players have a willingness to compete. It just all came together at the right time for us.”

Next year the team will move up to be U15 in the Hockey Super League, Lucas confirmed, but other details have not been worked out yet.

“Not that we haven’t thought about next year, but we have been focused on getting through this year.”

Team manager Leslie Rowse said it was great the team could rent the Williams Lake Stampeders bus to travel to Edmonton and back.

“It was nice to come home together,” she said. “We have lots of people to thank that made this year possible - teachers, trainers, the schools. It takes a lot of people to make this work.”

As it is a borderless hockey league and a borderless hockey team players can be from other communities outside of Williams Lake, although two players actually moved from 100 Mile House to be part of the team.

“There are no restrictions as far as who can play on this team,” Lucas said. “We have four players from Quesnel on our team. They drive down here for practices every day.”

While in Edmonton, the team met Darren Richen who coached the Williams Lake Mustangs junior ice hockey team in 1991/92.

He was staying at the same hotel the team was staying at, where his wife is a sales manager with the company.

Richen’s first clue the team was from Williams Lake was the Stampeders bus in the parking lot, and when he got off the elevator on the third floor he saw a whole group of people outside the elevator sitting on benches talking.

“I kind of laughed and said, ‘you guys must be from Williams Lake,’ just jokingly,” he told the Tribune Monday. “When I coached in Williams Lake, my first introduction was staying in a hotel there the first week and that’s what people did. They would sit outside the rooms on benches and chairs and socialize.”

He connected with Lucas and Rowse and was introduced to the players on Saturday night where he gave them a bit of an inspirational talk, sharing some of his life experience.

“Those young kids and those parents represented Williams Lake beyond incredible. It brought back memories of when I was there and Doug and Dorothy Beaman used to be our president of the Mustangs and Edgar Sandford was the general manager at the time.”

Richen said people in Williams Lake turned his life around and showed him what having success and being humble was all about.

On Monday Richen was on the phone connecting with people he knows in the hockey world to rave about the Total Ice Titans to see if he can get some financial support for the program.

“I cannot brag enough about those kids,” he said. “They were perfect kids here on a business trip, as they said.”

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Total Ice Titans head coach Tyrel Lucas, right, his wife Kayla and son and player Asher with the championship banner the team claimed after winning the Hockey Super League U14 playoffs in Edmonton on Sunday, March 6. (Photo submitted)

Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

Monica Lamb-Yorski has covered news for the Williams Lake Tribune since November 2011.
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