It has been quite the season for the Dawson Creek Peewee Rep Canucks.
The group of 11 and 12-year-old player-selects have finished atop the standings at every tournament they’ve attended this season while facing off against some of the best teams Alberta and B.C. has to offer. A considerable feat for a team that comes from a community as small as Dawson Creek and doesn’t have near equivalent the catchment area as teams from major centres.
“We have shown very well playing at Tier 1 and Tier 2 tournaments in B.C. and at ‘AA’ tournaments in Alberta,” said Peewee Canucks head coach Shawn Brinsky, whose team has had an extensive travel schedule outside their region to face more competitive clubs.
This weekend was the first time the Peewee’s skated on home ice, playing a series of exhibition games with ‘AA’ St. Albert and Tier 1 Prince George Cougars. The ‘Nucks finished at 1-1-1 tying St. Albert 2-2 and dropping one game 1-0. The Canucks win came against Prince George in a 7-2 defeat on Saturday.
On Sunday, coaches and parents filled in for the Cougars who abruptly forfeited their final game versus the Canucks.
The scheduled four-game series was likely the Peewee’s last before they head to Tier 3 Peewee provincials in Creston where they have to be early favourites to bring home the B.C. title.
Though they have proven already they can skate with the top-level teams, Brinsky says the Peewee’s won’t take any team lightly.
“I always say to my girls and boys that this isn’t a math test. Logic doesn’t always add up,” said Brinsky, when asked if the Canucks are the team to beat at provincials.
“If we play as good as we can play, stay working towards the same goal, stay accountable to ourselves and our team, I definitely think we are worthy opponent.
“When you have success and the higher you go you are vulnerable to a bigger crash,” added Brinsky.
From the top to the bottom of the roster, the young ‘Nucks have the type of depth not typically seen on a Tier 3 team, which has helped them to get where they are this season.
“It’s the depth that normally makes the difference,” notes Brinsky. “Our depth is good and you never feel vulnerable putting any line out.”
“They are a strong group of kids. There is a core group of kids who have played together for some time. We also have kids that have moved to the community the past several years and have been a nice addition to the age group,” he said. “Our goaltending is sound – that’s your foundation – and up front we do have kids with the ability to be creative and score. That gives us the ability to know that most games we are going to score a number of goals.”
Knowing full well that the Peewee’s may come across equally talented teams at provincials, Brinsky says defence will be the focus of forthcoming practices.
“We as a coaching group have focused on the developing the defensive side of the game,” he said. “As we move into provincials, we expect to see teams that are going to have some talented kids that are as good as our top players.
“We want to make sure that we aren’t vulnerable that way, so on the defensive side of the game we are sound and not only have the ability to outgun a team but have the ability to shut a team down.”
The Peewee provincials begin March 16.