Four local hockey players are sharing in a Major Midget provincial championship.
Goaltenders Liam McCloskey and Adam Derochie, big defenceman Brandon Armstrong and crafty forward Parker Colley are all hockey prospects from Maple Ridge who played for the Vancouver North East Chiefs. They won the provincial championship after sweeping the Cariboo Cougars in two straight games of a best-of-three series.
“We’re a tight-knit group,” said McCloskey. “Everyone plays a role, and that’s why we’ve gotten as far as we have.”
They still have some goals to accomplish. The Chiefs will host Pacific Midget Regional Championship against the Alberta champions. The winner will advance to the nationals in Rivière-du-Loup, Québec, from April 20-26.
McCloskey said he has watched the Telus Cup national championship on TSN, and getting to play in that event would be “a phenomenal experience.”
The kids from Ridge played key roles on the team.
Colley finished third in league scoring with 18 goals and 64 points in 40 games.
Armstrong is a six-foot-four blueliner who is property of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. He was 11th in league scoring among defencemen with four goals and 21 points in 40 games.
McCloskey started every game in the playoffs. Through the season he put up arguably the best numbers on the circuit, with 15 wins, two losses, three ties and a goals against average of 2.25. It was his first year in the league, and the young goaltender said it developed his game in the way he had hoped.
“It’s a tough league to play in – there’s fast and skilled players,” he said. “It prepares you for junior, because you play every week, and you can’t afford to take a practice off.”
Backup goaltender Derochie had a record of 10-8-2 with a 4.21 average.