The initiation players, aged five and six, divided into two teams and played with High Level, Yellowknife, and Fort Smith on Saturday and Sunday. For most of the players, it was their first time playing against other teams.
“We had a lot of first goals here,” said Terrence Courtoreille, coach for the blue team. Although the blue team beat their Fort Smith competitors 12-0, Courtoreille said the games aren’t about the competition.
“At this level, it’s more about participation and working as a team,” he said. “They’re starting to pass the puck, and I think they all know their positions now.”
“I’m proud of them; they played very well.”
Kim Ivanko, coach of the white team, was also impressed with the improvements over the weekend.
“They improved in each game they played,” she said. “They’re showing great sportsmanship and camaraderie.”
There were lots of first goals and hat tricks on Ivanko’s team, as well.
“We have some very competitive players,” she said. “It’s a big deal to a lot of them.”
For Madison Beck, it’s all about presence on the ice.
“I like wearing all the gear,” she said. Beck said she’s going to put her trophy, which was awarded to each player, in her bedroom.
Lorin Durocher likes the competition.
“I like doing face-offs,” he said. “I can get the puck.”
Despite the motivations for being on the ice, Ivanko said the teams are learning the core skills for playing competitive hockey.
“They’re starting to gel,” she said. “They’ve been passing and talking to each other on the ice.”