The Mission Stars became provincial champions on March 24 – the first Mission team to ever win at the Pee Wee level.
The team went 5-1 at the 2022 BC Hockey U13 Tier 3 Provincial Championship in Trail, B.C. from March 19 to 24.
Coach and president of the Mission Minor Hockey Association (MHA), Troy Stordy, has been training the group of young hockey players for seven years. He said it was a special moment for everyone.
“I’ve been with this group since they were five years old,” Stordy said. “This was the moment where we wanted it all to come together.”
The Stars dropped their first game 6-2 against South Okanagan on Saturday, March 19.
They never lost again.
Mission scorched Powell River 15-1 on March 20, and Castlegar 7-1 on March 21, then went on to beat the White Horse Mustangs 4-2 on March 22.
They defeated the Sunshine Coast Blues 7-3 in the semi-finals on March 23, before getting revenge on South Okanagan in the finals on March 24.
Sunshine Coast was the only team to beat the Stars during the season playoffs, and South Okanagan was undefeated heading into the provincial gold-medal game.
“The big story was we came back and beat the two teams that had victories over us through the playoffs,” Stordy said.
The Stars came out hot in the first period taking a 2-0 lead, but South Okanagan battled back to tie it.
Tanner Chahal put Mission up 3-2 halfway through the second frame, then South Okanagan’s Joel Parker tied it at 3 with 61 seconds to go in the period.
Mission went on to dominate the third period.
Maxxen Trites scored the game winner at 16:22 off a rebound – his 12th goal of the tournament. Teammates Daven Varcoe, Chahal, and Clark Galos added one more goal each for a final score of 7-3.
The Stars went 13-2 in preseason, 13-5-2 in the regular season, and 5-1 during playoffs before qualifying for the provincial tournament.
Stordy gave credit to the top line players, the role players and their goaltending for bringing home the gold.
He said the win is not only a testament to the growth of the MHA and its focus on skill development, but also the dedication of the group – parents and players alike.
“This group of kids, through COVID … I think they got in 110 practices last year, all with this moment of being able to go to provincials and compete,” Stordy said. “They stayed focused all through that time.”
Eleven of the players are graduating to the Bantam level, while five will return to the Pee Wee team.