January has been a great month for female hockey in the Central region. Earlier this month, the female bantam AAA Central IcePak took silver at the Bantam provincials, and just this past weekend the midget female AAA IcePak went undefeated in their provincial tournament in Goose Bay. For the second year in a row, the midget girls took gold at the prestigious tournament, proving themselves among the best female players in the province.
According to head coach Dave Edison, because the team consists of players scattered throughout the large central region – including players from Springdale, Bishop’s Falls, Gander, Twillingate, and Fogo ¬– finding practice time throughout the year was a challenge.
When they arrived in Goose Bay for the three-team tournament, Edison said the team was lucky to gel very quickly on the ice.
Despite practice time constraints, Edison said the team remained optimistic.
“They had an air of confidence that they had a shot at winning this,” he said.
Their confidence must have paid off, because the team had no trouble beating their two opponents ¬– Northern and TriPen – during the four-game double round robin
“They kind of ramped it up and got better each game,” said Edison. “And the nice thing about it was it was a team effort.”
Edison said because they were in first place, they got a buy-in to the final, which ended up being against TriPen.
“They had what I would call a pretty dominant performance,” he said. “They played in all three parts of the ice…we covered it all…there were very few mistakes made in that 60 minutes of hockey.”
The IcePak girls took the win against TriPen for the provincial banner in a 3-0 shutout.
“They’re very proud of themselves,” said Edison, adding that the biggest highlight of the win for many of the girls is that now, their season doesn’t stop with provincials. The Central IcePak will get the opportunity to represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the Atlantic tournament, which will take place in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in early April.
“They’re so excited they get to play some more hockey – (for) some of the girls it’s their last year so this is their final kick at the cat,” said Edison. “And as you can understand, they’re all very excited to be able to represent the province.”
Edison added that at the midget level, there’s also a chance to move on to a national tournament.
“Right away now we’ll have to start some fundraising efforts to help with the trip,” said Edison, adding that when last year’s team went to Atlantics, the community was very forthcoming in contributing to their fundraising efforts.
Edison said overall, from the organization by the host team to the sportsmanship shown among the teams, this weekend’s tournament was a success. He said he’s especially pleased to see the growth and support female hockey has been getting recently, particularly in the central region.
“The growth in the central area is fabulous,” he said. “It shows that we’re right there with the best in the province.”