A long time ago a coach told me, while he was trying to justify a tough loss, that we don’t truly learn lessons while we win. We learn the really important stuff while losing. Well… the 2011 Pee Wee Flyers are learning, and learning and learning! For 2010-11, with a very strong core of second year players, and a group of first year Pee Wees that had run rampant through two seasons of Atoms, the team declared rep, and the difference in one year is staggering.
Full contact hockey, full time hockey programs in Kamloops, Kelowna and other cities, and full line ups of opposition have taken a physical and mental toll on our boys this season. In the first game of the year Travis Roberts broke his arm, out for the season, and in the first game after the Christmas Break, Parker Thibert took a huge knee-on-knee hit and is doubtful for the rest of the year. That leaves it to 10 guys, and one goalie to keep things going! Against 17-18 boys every weekend, that’s a tough task.
At the time of his injury Thibert led our team in scoring. He was also in the Top Ten in the league. Right behind him is Lane French, who leads the team in rookie scoring. Team Captain Cache Cook is having a strong year, and remains positive and supportive as he leads the boys, vocally and with his effort and attitude. Tristan Vandermeulen is undoubtedly the hardest worker on the team. His energy and effort is unbelievable. Hayden Zieske leads the defense in goals, assists and hits. Corey Scott, his linemate, is right there as a strong physical presence in front of our net. He is also the top shot blocker on our team. The other defensive duo is second year player Conner Clarke, and rookie Mike White. This under-sized duo puts forth an effort like no two other d-men in the league. Hitting bigger guys and out-skating everybody is their goal on every shift.
Filling out the front line: Tanner Sulentich has scored some pretty goals this year, as has rookie Noah Moldowan. Chris Gullason is a hard-working, quick learning rookie.
In our pipes is Corey Thompson. Corey has seen more rubber this year than the guys at Princeton Tire! At one point he was averaging over 60 shots per game! And he keeps on getting up and getting better!
At the end of this season the team may not have a winning record. But the boys have learned a lot, and they should be very proud of the effort they put forth. People in other cities have come to us and expressed their feelings about the boys effort! If not in the win column, perhaps the success of this season can be judged on a personal level. Every boy on this team is a better player than they were in the summer, and they never, ever gave up! And isn’t that what Canadian hockey is all about?