A collection of ball hockey players from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows earned medals at three age levels while playing for B.C. at the national championships in Fredericton, N.B., July 26-30.
In the under-19 division, Marc Gautreau, Mateo Petrelli, Damian Richards earned bronze with B.C., defeating Manitoba 6-1 in the their final game.
B.C.. after posting a 12-3 goal differential in round robin play, lost in the semi-finals in a shootout, 2-1.
Petrelli recorded two shutouts during the nationals and was selected a tournament all-star.
Richards, fresh off winning gold with Team Canada at the u-18 worlds, had a solid tournament, registering two goals and two assists in New Brunswick.
Gautreau, B.C. assistant captain, had three goals and two assists in five games and was also a tournament all-star at forward.
The Canadian national ball hockey championship featured teamns from B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland, as well as three teams from Ontario.
In the u-17 division, B.C. took silver, with contributions from six Ridge ball hockey players – defenders Tyler Slavin, Jake Vorlicek, Keegan Prophet, Cody Hogarth and Edward Riddell, as well as forward Griffin Mahaffey.
B.C. went 2-1 in round-robin play, finishing first and with the fewest penalty minutes.
In the semi-final, the disciplined B.C. team edged the Richmond Hill Stars of Ontario 4-1. Prophet scored in that game.
The gold-medal game featured 11 players who represented Canada at the recent u-16 junior worlds in the Czech Republic.
The Newfoundland Selects were lead by eight of those players, and came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat B.C. 5-3 and take first place.
Riddell was selected a tournament all-star on defense.
B.C. also earned bronze in the u-15 division, defeating New Tecumseth 2-1 in the final game.
B.C. went 2-1 in round-robin play, then fell 3-2 to Withrow Park from Ontario in a closely fought semi-final.
Mason Louie of Maple Ridge anchored the B.C. blueline squad and was selected an all-star at the nationals for his solid defensive play and presence on the point.
B.C. also received key contributions from Maple Ridge forwards Ben Fontaine and Jack Foster. Both brought high level ball hockey experience to the team, coming off participation in the Pilsen Cup international ball hockey tournament in the Czech Republic, where they also finished third.
Fontaine served as assistant captain for B.C. and finished the tournament with two assists. Foster had three assists.
”Overall, it was a great week of ball hockey for our Team B.C. program, taking home one silver and two bronze,” said Team B.C. program director Gary Slavin. “On and off the floor was a great experience for these players and the B.C. program is getting stronger and stronger every year.”
The Canadian championships, which now include a u-19 girls’ division, will likely be held in Langley next year.
“We are excited as next year’s junior nationals will be in B.C.,” added Slavin.
“The Team B.C. program will be pushing to have two teams in every division for the boys, and we are hoping to put together their first B.C. girls team for the u-19 division.”