A trio of South Island Royals midget AA girls teammates took their hockey to another level this month in Mississauga, Ont.
Shayla Brown, 17 of View Royal, and 16 year olds Caitlyn Bruce-Storie of Colwood and Huntyr Bosher of Sooke helped Team B.C. finish fourth at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships.
“It’s the best finish ever by Team B.C. (women),” said Brown, a left winger who played in the event for a second straight year. “It was a great way to wrap up hockey season.”
With only two practices together ahead of the tournament, the group started somewhat slowly but got better as the tournament went on, said Bruce-Storie, who switched from defence to centre for the tournament. “I think our team really gelled once we got to know each other,” she added.
After going 1-2 in round robin play, Team B.C. beat highly-touted Alberta 5-3 in the quarter-finals, then lost 2-0 to eventual champion Saskatchewan in the semis. Team B.C. lost 2-1 in overtime to Manitoba for the bronze medal on May 7.
Not only was the experience a good test of their hockey skills, the players got in touch with their aboriginal heritage, with various First Nations elements such as food and entertainment.
“It was a cool experience, not just for the hockey but for the culture,” said Bosher, who tried out for the team for the first time this year. “You had two things in common with everyone there. You felt so accepted.”
The trio all plan to try out for the team in 2017, when the tournament shifts to Penticton.