With 2018 officially over and the new year quietly creeping around the corner, I think it’s high time I welcome you to my brand new column, “Sports Talk with Tyson”.
This is going to be the place where you can get more in-depth details and commentary from me regarding sports related topics on local teams and all the cool sporting events that happen around the North Island. I might also go out of my way to cover boxing and UFC Pay Per Views because I’m a huge combat sports fan, but I’d like to keep it hyper local to start. You’ll also get extra photos from local games and some other cool stuff like videos and maybe some interviews.
So what will I be writing about this week?
Well, seeing as how the holiday break is still in full effect, I should probably update everyone on how the North Island minor rep hockey teams have been playing so far this season.
Without further adieu, lets dive right in and break it down.
North Island Midget Eagles: The midgets had a decent start to the season, showing some real promise with a high scoring first line of Carson Strang, Benton Browne, and Clayton Bono. The Eagles went 1-1 on their first weekend of league play, falling to the Port Alberni Bulldogs and then defeating the Nanaimo Clippers the day after. The team ended up folding soon after that.
Highlight of the season: Browne’s four-goal performance against the Clippers, which was downright amazing to watch unfold live in real time.
North Island Bantam Eagles: The bantams have been a continuous whirlwind of on-ice destruction this season, throwing big hits and scoring a ton of goals. The Eagles have posted a perfect league play record of 8-0, with a stunning 62 goals for and only nine goals against. The Eagles will look to clinch the Tier Three league banner Jan. 12 in Powell River, and knowing the coaching staff and the players dedication to practice, the team will be more than ready to take aim and fire in enemy territory next weekend.
Highlight of the season so far: Defenceman Mannie Browne’s physical play against the Powell River Kings in their Dec. 16 home game in Port McNeill, which helped guide the Eagles to a big 5-0 shutout victory.
North Island Peewee Eagles: The peewees have a special group of players this year, and they were tasked with the challenge of playing in VIAHA’s Tier Two division against some of the top teams on Vancouver Island. The Eagles have posted a solid record of 4-5-1 so far, with 54 goals for and 65 goals against. With three games still left to play in the season, they could theoretically finish with a well deserved 7-5-1 record.
Highlight of the season so far: High scoring forwards Zach Spafford and Jack Barrett have been netting anywhere from three to five goals per game, which is an incredible statistic for such young athletes. Look for both players to make some real noise when they move up to bantam.
North Island Atom Eagles: After scrambling to find enough players to form a team by the start of the season, the atoms have shown great strides in team play and a knack for scoring goals, racking up a solid 2-2 record so far with 22 goals for and 17 goals against. More impressive than that though is they have only logged six penalty minutes all season. The Eagles are a classy team with a dedicated coaching staff who are working hard to teach the kids the game of hockey.
Highlight of the season so far: The Eagles 15-0 destruction of the Campbell River Tyees on home ice Nov. 5, where goals were scored by Tyce Manke (x3), William Harrison (x2), Carter Henschke (x4), Kyle Rushton, Dakota Knighton (x2), Linden Tomasi, Jessica Blodgett, and Dylan Puglas. Talk about a team effort.
Tri-Port Midget Wild: After a tough loss and a tie against the Oceanside Ice Breakers to start the season, the Wild quickly turned things around by winning three straight games, two against the Juan De Fuca Grizzlies and one against the Campbell River Hurricanes. The Wild are currently in first place in their division with their next game on the road against the Hurricanes Jan. 12. Can the Wild keep the momentum going and win the league banner for the second year in a row? They look unstoppable right now, I’d be willing to put money down on it.
Highlight of the season so far: Hard to argue against sniper Bree-Anna Henderson’s four-goal performance against the Cowichan Valley Capitals Nov. 24 in Port McNeill. Henderson has one of the hardest shots in the league and knows how to find the back of the net.
Tri-Port Peewee Wild: It’s been a season of learning so far for the peewee girls, as the majority of the team are just now getting a taste of what it’s like to play on a travelling team against tough competition. The Wild have posted an 0-5 record so far with 8 goals for and 44 against, and they will be looking to pick up their first win of the season Jan. 12 against the Nanaimo Clippers in Port Hardy.
Highlight of the season so far: The Wild won bronze medals during their Christmas break tournament in Cowichan, which is a testament to how far they have come since the beginning of the season.
Well, that should about wrap things up from me this week. Take care and comb your hair.
– Tyson Whitney is an award-winning journalist who was born and raised in Port Hardy. His family has lived in Port Hardy for more than 40 years. He graduated with a degree in writing from Vancouver Island University in 2008.