Two Greater Trail minor hockey teams will battle for the provincial championship this coming week.
The Pee Wee Tier 2 Smoke Eaters head to the Burnaby Winter Club to battle for the BC title, while the Bantam Tier 3 team remain in the Kootenays with the provincial championships hosted by Nelson this year.
Both teams played in the Okanagan Mainline Hockey Association (OMAHA) this season with impressive results. The Greater Trail Minor Hockey Association (GTMHA) Tier 3 Bantams coached by Rick Meakes went 14-2-0-0 in OMAHA play and were 10-2 in the West Kootenay league. The Bantam Smoke Eaters also came first in the Tier 3 West Kelowna Tournament and placed second in the Tier 2 tournament in Penticton.
“We have a good group of kids,” said Meakes. “They work hard and have bought into the program, and with that mindset, who knows what we can achieve going into Nelson.”
The Pee Wee team, coached by Jodi Bradford, Mike Williams, and Aaron Weishaupt, found the going a little tougher in the Tier 2 division, finishing third in the OMAHA, while sporting a 24-17-4 record in the two leagues. The Tier 2 Pee Wees have five players returning from last year’s team that hosted the provincials at the Cominco Arena in Trail.
“We have a great skating team,” said Bradford. “And we look forward to taking on the best in Tier 2 Pee Wee hockey.”
The provincials run from March 18-22, with nine of B.C.’s best teams competing in the Bantam tournament, including: Cranbrook, Mission, Powell River, Dawson Creek, Penticton, Sunshine Coast, Terrace, Nelson and Greater Trail.
The GTMHA Bantams open the tournament against the defending provincial champions from Mission at 8:30am on Sunday, followed by tournament favourite Powell River on Monday at 10:30am.
The Pee Wee Smokies will face the top tier 2 teams in the province with the Burnaby Winter Club hosting Cowichan Valley, New Westminster, Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Greater Vernon, North Shore Winter Club, Prince George and Trail. Greater Trail’s first game goes at 1:30 p.m. Sunday versus New Westminster.