The West Kootenay Midget Wolfpack have good reason to howl after capturing a silver medal in the C division at the BCLA Box Lacrosse provincial championship in Coquitlam last weekend.
The Wolfpack was coming off a promising season with two bronze medals and a silver medal in three tournaments and coach Devon Reid was optimistic going into the provincials.
“My expectations for the team were fairly high,” said Reid. “I anticipated making it to a medal game, but I did not know any of the teams we played as we had not played them previously in the season so I was apprehensive as well.”
The Wolfpack based out of Castlegar went 3-and-1 in the round robin beating Nanaimo Timbermen 10-4, Kamloops Rattlers 9-4, and Cowichan Valley Thunder 6-4 before dropping a close 7-6 match to the undefeated Vanderhoof Bears.
“I had a feeling we were probably going to come near the top,” said Wolfpack player and Fruitvale native Kody Stewart. “But Vanderhoof had a really good goalie, and a couple of players that could score really well.”
The Bears and Wolfpack faced each other again in the gold-medal match, and both teams opened the provincial final with the same intensity as their previous match.
“We had just played the team and lost 7-6, and we were winning most of the game so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I knew it was going to be a good close game.”
It was a goaltenders duel through the first two periods, with the game tied 2-2 after the first period and 3-3 after two, but with only nine runners, fatigue played a factor, and a third-period let down upended the Pack and sent the Bears home with gold.
“Our team had a five-minute lapse of focus and the other team capitalized scoring a few goals that we did not recover from,” said Reid. “The final score was 7-3, which is a low scoring game for box lacrosse.”
Reid praised the team and the players for the effort they put into the season, and although the Pack came up short of a BC title, he was impressed with the team’s progress.
“I am very happy with the team overall,” said Reid. “The players all had amazing seasons and every single player elevated their game and improved throughout the season. Every player starts at a different place at the beginning of the season, so they don’t all end up at the same level, but every kid on this team improved and grew during the season.”
At the end of the game, Eric Reid was awarded game MVP, and Stewart, who scored 11 goals in the tournament, was selected to the All-Star team and was honoured with the Warrior Fair Play award, given to a player that puts forward a great effort for the team and plays the game with integrity throughout the lacrosse season.
Wolfpack coach Devon Reid won the Fair Play Coaching award for the C division, and was surprised and honoured by the selection and the kudos given to Erik and Kody, but was quick to point out the Pack’s collective effort.
“Most of the recognition is for the goal scorers and playmakers, but those guys don’t get to score if the rest of the team is not setting up the plays and helping out. Scoring goals means nothing if your goalie isn’t playing well too. There is not a single player on the team that didn’t surprise me with an amazing play that was way above the level they appeared to be at. This was truly a team achievement.”
Stewart will also play for the Kootenay Zone 1 at the B.C. Summer Games at the end of the month, and while hoping to do well, having to face A1 and A2 division teams, the J. L. Crowe student’s expectations are more modest this time around.
“I’m going for the experience, and to just go there and have fun,” said Stewart. “I’m not too confident we’ll do very good. We’ll be playing against the best players in the province.”
Most of the Wolfpack team will also participate in the Summer Games, including coach Devon Reid, Alexander Foreshaw from Rossland, Brian Martini from Genelle, and Castlegar’s Erik Reid, Tyson MacKinnon, Kyle McIntosh, Cooper McLaughlin, Alexander Teneycke, and Seth Whitehead.
The BC Summer Games go in Abbotsford July 21-24.