A Shuswap U15 hockey team tallied a big victory recently.
The U15 North Zone Kings powered their way through the 2022 Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament, Dec. 16-20, to claim the KIBIHT ‘AA’ title.
The tournament, in its 53rd year, was back following a two-year hiatus due to COVID. Assistant coach Mark Delleman described it as a prestigious tournament, typically with teams from all over the world.
“This season we had competition from all over Western Canada – B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan,” he said.
Although hosted by Salmon Arm Minor Hockey, the Kings consist of players from Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, Vernon, Sicamous and Winfield. Head coach Shawn Lund has coached for many years in Salmon Arm and this was his first time to win the tourney. It was also a first for any team hosted in Salmon Arm, Delleman said.
The Kings, a mix of both 2009 and 2008 age-group players, faced older teams throughout the tournament.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing.
Suffering a loss in round-robin play to the Balgonie Prairie Storm, the team needed a decisive win over Red Deer. Win they did, with a 6-0 victory in the team’s last round-robin game before heading to the semifinals.
In the semifinal, the Kings faced the Central Zone Rockets, their rivals from Kelowna, and claimed another dominant win with a 4-1 score.
The Shuswap team was pitted against the North East Trackers in the final, a squad which had defeated them with a 4-3 overtime win in an Abbotsford tournament earlier in the season.
The Kamloops game was not to be a repeat of that loss.
“With a strong performance and an excellent game from both teams, we came out on top 5-3 to win the KIBIHT tournament,” said Delleman.
Under head coach Shawn Lund and assistant coaches David Oliver, Nic Dewitt, Mark Delleman and Sean Matile, team members are: Tai Bentien, Quinn Church, Parker Degerness, Linden Delleman, Levi Dewitt, Daniel Erwin, Connor Fisher, Isaac Gossen, Carter Hutton, Treven Jeffery, Nolan Jensen, Cameron Matile, William McGrath, Vincent Nagy, Caden Oliver, Charles Ouillette, Hudson Podollan, Jack Saxton and Jayke Yano.
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