The Peewees were invited to play with the big boys over the weekend, and proved themselves worthy competitors. The best from the Peewee league were chosen to represent the 11- and 12-year-olds in a tournament full of players one or two years older.
Shawn Demarcke, coach of the Peewees, said the boys were excited to be putting themselves up against the challenge.
“It’s good for us,” said Demarcke. “It’s good to know we are learning and playing as a team. The kids were excited to play the older group.”
The tournament lasted all weekend, with teams from Hay River’s Bantams, Fort Smith, Fort Vermilion, and Yellowknife. Sunday’s finals pitted the Peewees against Fort Smith in the semi-finals. The Peewees clawed their way to a 7-6 win against their older competitors.
“They weren’t intimidated,” said Peewee coach Doug Bryshun. “They play as a team. If you put them up against bigger kids individually, they wouldn’t win. But as a team they have what it takes.”
“As long as they’re here prepared to play hockey, and the execute the game properly, they know they can make it work,” said Bryshun.
Levon Schumann on the Peewee team said the most triumphant part of the game was being able to play and win against Evan Tordiff, Fort Smith’s strongest player, in Schumann’s opinon.
“He is the team,” he said.
The next game found Fort Vermilion taking a victory over Hay River Bantams white team, 9-4. Yellowknife played Hay River Blue and won 5-3.
Riding the wave of their unlikely victory, the Peewees ended up in the final game of the tournament against the undefeated Fort Vermilion team. Their confidence was up in the first period, starting the second with a 1-1 tie. However, Vermilion remembered they were bigger than the Peewees, and smoked them out with a 7-1 win.
“We were doing well for the first period,” said Demarcke. “But the last half of the second, it’s like we just gave up.”
Demarcke thinks his team was beginning to feel frustrated with the apparent defeat, and gave up hope halfway through the game.
“We’ll be working on keeping a positive attitude, and not giving up.”