The Vanderhoof Minor Hockey Association (VMHA) and Northwest District are hosting this year’s U15 tier four provincial championships happening March 19 to 23.
Vanderhoof Bears Captain Taylor Danielson said the team is ready for the challenge and everyone is excited to be able to have friends and family come watch their biggest games.
“There have been some challenges definitely against the harder teams that can really move the puck — but we can definitely hold our game and that usually leads to success.”
VMHA Division Manager Suzanne Campbell said the team has bonded through some hard times and come out better for it.
She said the team is coming together this year and to expect close games.
“This year it’s quite a small team. We have a total of 15 players, including our two goalies, so 13 skaters at the best of times,” Campbell said.
“They have really had to push hard this year. Some of the guys recover from injuries and come back and then persevere. So it’s been kind of fun to watch.”
Danielson’s team gets an automatic entry to the finals for hosting, and Bears Assistant Coach Paul Hartwig says the team is up for the challenge — having practiced all through last year.
“Last year, we didn’t play a single game and the kids still showed up to every practice and still gave it their 100 per cent to improve. This year we’re seeing the benefits from that,” Hartwig said.
He said the team has been competitive in the tier four division and did well in a few tier three games.”
For Hartwig the championships are a chance for the community to come together around minor hockey for the first time since the pandemic hit.
“It’s a special group of kids and this is their chance to shine. This is their chance to win a banner for the community,” Hartwig said.
“So come on out and support them.”