100 Mile Minor Hockey’s new U13 Rep Team won some valuable experience this weekend.
100 Mile House played host to the U13 Icebreaker Tournament Saturday, inviting teams from Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George to compete. While they didn’t win any of their games, head coach Brad McKinnon said the team fought hard and showed spirit on the ice.
“It was a tough weekend. We played some very competitive teams but I am pleased to say we walked away with a lot of great knowledge on the things we need to work on,” McKinnon said. “Now it’s time to get to work. The season starts in a couple of weeks and this weekend was instrumental in helping us understand what we need to do to compete.”
On Saturday McKinnon’s team, the 100 Mile Millers, took on the Quesnel Thunder, losing 11-4. Throughout the game, the Millers, many of whom were smaller than the Thunder’s players, struggled to outshoot the opposing team. Despite this, they stayed determined and fought for goals until the clock ran out.
McKinnon said their other games were closer but the weekend wasn’t really about winning or losing. Instead, he said it was about figuring out the skills of his players and where they’re going to fit into the roster for the entire season.
“I think they had a good time. I saw lots of smiling faces, red cheeks and sweaty hair and I think it was an eye-opener for a lot of them. It’s a much faster pace of hockey and certainly more physical but they accepted the challenge and rose to the occasion. They’re eager to get back to the ice and keep working hard.”
While McKinnon was happy with the entire team’s performance he said he was especially impressed by the team’s goalies. Both Savannah Bissat and Rowan Johnston stayed in the game even though they “faced lots of rubber.” Goaltending is a tough job, McKinnon said, and he was proud they didn’t give up.
McKinnon said it has been a while since the association has been able to offer a competitive program at the U13 level. The fact they can this year is exciting for him and the talented young players he coaches.
“We have some exceptional athletes and giving them the ability to move and improve in their hockey careers and play against other higher calibre teams is a really good thing for the players and the league,” McKinnon said.
The Millers will be playing across the province this season, starting in mid-October with home games every other weekend. McKinnon said he’s looking forward to spending time with 100 Mile’s young athletes and watching them grow.
“The sport of hockey was very good to me and to be able to pass along some of those skills to young hockey players, both male and female, is a very important thing to me,” McKinnon said.