A Summerland Steam player led the Team B.C. Under-18 male squad to a bronze medal finish at the 2022 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Nova Scotia.
Nate McIsaac, who plays defence for the Steam, was captain of the team at the championships in Membertou, Nova Scotia, May 7 to 14.
The team won bronze the last time the tournament was held in Whitehorse, Yukon in 2019. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the championships were not held in 2020 and 2021.
Going into this year’s championships, Team B.C. had two wins and two losses in the preliminary round, losing 6-4 to the North and defeating Eastern Door and North 32, shutting out Team Atlantic 5-0 and losing to Saskatchewan 6-0.
In the quarter-finals, Team B.C. defeated the North in a 7-5 decision. This win put the team in the semifinals, where they lost to Ontario 4-1.
Ontario went on to win the gold medal.
In the bronze medal game, Team B.C defeated Eastern Door and North 5-1.
McIsaac had seven points in seven games at the tournament.
He said playing with a younger team gave him knowledge on how to guide the group to win important games.
“We put a lot of hard work into each and every game. We had some challenges against Ontario and Saskatchewan,” said McIsaac of West Kelowna. “We knew going into the bronze (medal game) that it was a big game for us. Winning it just meant a lot to the guys.”
He added that the tournament was a great experience for the group.
“The coaches did a really good job of bringing the group together and working with us to perform at our best,” he said.
McIsaac said players on Team Ontario and Saskatchewan forced them to step up their pace. The overall speed in the tournament was something he noticed as well as physical play and work ethic.
“Every single team we played, you couldn’t take a period off,” he said. “Every team would work so hard. They would capitalize on the opportunities if you gave it to them.”
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