The Sooke Thunderbirds are discovering the only way to the top is with hard work and perseverance.
The Vancouver Island Hockey Association Atom A squad struggled at the beginning of the season, but is now beginning to see the fruits of its labour.
Blown out by Tier 1 clubs and easily beating Tier 3 clubs, the Thunderbirds are hoping to be selected to the Tier 2 division later this week.
“The coaching staff decided that we’d rather lose by two goals in every game and eventually win those games then be playing 10-0 games all year long,” said head coach Nick Szadkowski of his desire to be named to the Tier 2 division.
If selected to Tier 2, Szadkowski said Sooke would likely play in a division with Nanaimo, Saanich and Victoria Racquet Club.
He said of most games the Thunderbirds played this season, it wasn’t because the other team was better, it mostly was “we just didn’t show up for those games.”
From the start of the season until now, the players have bought into the idea that hard work will bring team success.
For many players, this is the first time they’ve played competitive hockey. Atom players are nine and 10 year olds.
“In the beginning it was tough and lots of hard work. They’re now seeing the hard work paying off,” Szadkowski said.
And there’s nowhere for this team to go but up.
Szadkowski is confident the Thunderbirds can win their division this year and possibly go farther.
“I can’t see why we can’t continue to win Tier 2, if we keep doing what we’re doing right now, but as long as we inch forward I’m happy with that,” he said.