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.”