The Beaver Valley Nitehawks provincial championship run is more remarkable than you might think. A further run to the Western title is not unthinkable on top of it, but would be an even more remarkable feat than the B.C. title.
Beaver Valley has five 20 year old players and an average age of under 19, The two western teams in the Cyclone Taylor cup sported seven 20 year olds, including three players who had passed their 21st birthday and averaged 19-plus.
That should make a huge, telling difference to the performances of the teams. We know that in both Junior B and Junior A it is said that the team with the best 20 year olds usually wins, That is, “common knowledge,” for good reason. As children mature, so do their bodies and their ability to use them.
17 and 18 year olds frequently take a while to be able to fully control their growing frames. 20 years olds have a big edge on that process, hence their increased ability to perform. That is why, come January, we see teams hoping to contend trolling for the best 20 year old players from the rosters of non-contending clubs.
The teams coming in to Abbotsford all have at least seven 20-plus players on their rosters, there are even several 21 and some 22 year olds on the rosters that post age information (one team did not). That fact, and not just theoretically, should make them favourites over the relatively much younger Nitehawks.
I take heart from the fact Beaver Valley has already faced just such a disparity in physical maturity between them and older opponents – and come out on top. I am aware, however, how remarkable such success in the current competition would be.
Win or lose, the Nitehawks have had a great season, one of many, but standalone at the same time.
We should take a minute to congratulate them for their already outstanding effort, regardless of the coming results, as soon as their great run comes to whatever end it sees.
• I like saying, “I told you so,” so a reminder that, even though the Nitehawks finished second in their division, I predicted weeks ago that they would still be competing late into the current month. Glad to have been proven right.