Hay River was well represented at the Junior Super Soccer tournament in Yellowknife from April 26 to 30.
And while the teams did not bring home any banners, they did return with a lot of good soccer experience and great memories of the tournament for Grades 6-8.
Princess Alexandra School sent four teams – boys and girls teams from Grades 6 and 7.
Pat Morris, the school’s soccer coach, said 42 students from the school travelled to the tournament.
“It was probably more than usual,” said Morris, who is a teacher at the school.
The teams were also coached by two other teachers and a parent.
“One of the Grade 7 girls’ teams probably did the best of all the teams,” said Morris.
That team, as well as the Grade 6 boys, made it to the playoffs.
“Even their playoffs games they were one-goal games,” said Morris. “They were close.”
The coach was also pleased with how the PA teams responded to the games.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “After each game they really seemed to focus on the positives and the goals that they did score, rather than the final score if we lost by a couple of goals. They seemed to always take away the positive, which was very great to see.”
Jon Tatti, who played on PA’s Grade 7 boys’ team, enjoyed the tournament.
“It was fun,” said the 12-year-old. “We didn’t win any games, but we had lots of fun.”
Tatti, who was at the tournament for the first time, said it was good to play the other teams, and even fun to watch the other teams play.
Sixteen players from Ecole Boreale also competed at the tournament in teams including players from Ecole Allain St-Cyr, the French-language school in Yellowknife.
Kim Ivanko, the acting soccer coach with Ecole Boreale, explained the two schools joined up to create four teams.
“The girls wore the Ecole Boreale uniforms and the Grade 7 & 8 boys wore the Allain St-Cyr uniforms,” she noted.
The two schools joined forces partly because there are not enough soccer players in each school to create teams for the tournament’s age and gender categories.
“We played with Allain St-Cyr before in different sports,” Ivanko noted.
She was pleased with the combined teams’ performance at the tournament.
“They all did super well,” she said, noting some of the Ecole Boreale/Allain St-Cyr teams made it to the semi-finals or quarter-finals.
“Given that Ecole Boreale doesn’t even have a gym and we share with other schools, they did fantastic,” she added.
Ivanko said Junior Super Soccer is an awesome opportunity to go and play competitive soccer.
Connor McKay-Ivanko, a Grade 8 student at Ecole Boreale, said he enjoyed the tournament
“It was pretty good,” said the 13-year-old. “We tried our best.”
McKay-Ivanko was playing at his fifth Junior Super Soccer tournament, where he particularly likes playing against his friends at Diamond Jenness Secondary School.
Tyson Maher, another 13-year-old Grade 8 student at Ecole Boreale, also enjoyed the tournament.
“It’s fun,” said Maher, who has also competed at the tournament four or five times.
One team of Grade 8 students – four girls and seven boys – also attended the tournament from Diamond Jenness Secondary School.
“They did great,” said coach Taylor Reid. “They held their own.”
The Super Soccer format has existed since 1993, and in that time no school has ever swept the board to win every single championship up for grabs.
However, William McDonald School of Yellowknife came close at this year’s junior tournament by capturing five of the six banners.
Range Lake North School of Yellowknife won the other banner.
– Paul Bickford with files from James McCarthy