The Princeton Peewee Posse players were on a roll this year and one they hoped doesn’t stop. Regular season came to an end for the local team and with that end has come a record to brag about. At 16 wins and zero losses, the statistics are a source of pride for the small town players who participated in the South Central Peewee Recreation league this year.
The nine team regular season battle on ice against two Penticton teams, four West Kelowna teams, one Summerland team and one South Okanagan team has been a full-on attack by the young Princeton Posse. Every game, they hit the ice with a determination to play hard all the way through until the last buzzer and they did. The team is made up of every kid they could get to strap on skates. There were no try-outs. In fact, it was a scramble to put together the team. Three over-age players had to be approved by OMAHA (Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association) before they could play and two under age players also, had to be assessed before joining the line up.
Mason O’Neil and Curtis Gould may be the youngest players, but neither one are lacking in skill. Both have been worthy of their spots and proven themselves. In fact, O’Neil pulled a hat trick during the finals at the Posse’s home team tournament. The boys are fast and put 100 per cent effort into their on-ice shifts.
Grant Yee, Nathan Silbernagel and Marcus Brodie are the over-age players and for them, they have had to play a new kind of game. Their play has been under scrutiny all year, but the local coaching staff has met the scrutiny with grace and a love of the game that goes far beyond winning. Yee and Silbernagel are solid defencemen and have kept the team upright at times when a bad pass or tired offence have handed a puck to their opponent. In addition , both players had shots from the point close to “breaking the sound barrier,” joked their teammates. Brodie is a good addition to the offensive line-up and has been known to use a few special moves to outwit the opposing goalie. All three boys have been asked to maintain a one-goal maximum at most of the season games and have had to pull back in order to do that. They have had to focus on a clean game all year which is sometimes hard to do when playing hockey.
Takumi Irie joined the team last year with no experience on skates. He moved here from Japan with his family and brought with him an athleticism and sheer determination. After a steep learning-curve last season, Irie can now boast a few assists and goals and an amazing attitude to preserve. Shae Karstensen, Trent Robinson and Kirk Scollon are also late additions to the team, but have shown tremendous gumption to keep the team in first place. All three have found the back of their opponents net and showed hustle and drive.
The rest of the team has been together since they were lads—Liam Zieske, Carson Thibert, Matt Maynard, Case Brodie, Quinn Clarke, Trenton Vegara and goalie Jett Larsen. Every one of these players has scored goals and been a valuable contributor to the team in many ways. Larsen skunked a few teams with shut outs and also, switched out with Maynard for some ice-time for two games and was able to score.
“The team just works,” said Coach Carson Zieske. “The kids all get along and try hard each and every game. I always tell them winners never quit and quitters never win,” Zieske added, “and that has been the way they played all season long—they played with a will to win each and every time they hit the ice.”
Princeton hosted two Kelowna teams, Kamloops, Chilliwack, Aldergrove, Abbotsford and Grand Forks in the Peewee home tournament and proved outside their regular season play that they have what it takes. “We are really proud of all our teams,” said PDMHA President Candice Fraser-Beswick. “This year the Peewees were just awesome to watch. They are a great bunch of kids and really compliment each other in the game. They fought hard for the banner and are really deserving of the honour. PDMHA is really happy to be a part of their big season.”