PROFILE PHOTO COURTESY OF KIMBERELY KUFAAS PHOTOGRAPHY Sports Talk with Tyson is a column exclusively here at the North Island Gazette that covers all things sports related in the North Island. Have some thoughts about Sports Talk with Tyson? Email a letter to editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish it online and in print.

North Island Eagles: Find out which teams are where in the standings

“I’m here to talk about minor hockey and how the rep hockey teams are doing so far this year”

Hello, faithful readers!

Let’s get down to business by talking about sports right here in the last regular edition of the North Island Gazette for 2019.

Yes, this will be last “normal” paper of the year, as the next edition is our annual “year in review” where we collect our best stories from 2019 to give you all a reminder of the interesting and wild stuff that has happened this year.

With that little introduction out of the way, it’s time to get down to business.

I’m here to talk about minor hockey and how the rep hockey teams are doing so far this year.

Let’s dive right in to the topic at hand.

North Island Atom Eagles:

The atoms had a tough go of things in preseason tiering, winning only one game over the Comox Valley B Chiefs and they ended up ranked in the Tier 4 division.

Since then they’ve gone on a hot streak, winning six straight games with 38 goals for and only nine goals against.

The atoms still have seven games left to play, but with captain Axen Peterson, Linden Tomasi and Rylan Turgeon all lighting the lamp early and often, and goaltender Drake Brooks continuing to allow only a goal or two a game, they are well on their way to the Tier 4 League Banner.

North Island Peewee Eagles:

The peewees had a bit of an up and down run in preseason tiering with a 2-3 record, and they ended up in the Tier 3 division where they suddenly came alive and are currently sitting tied for first place with the Comox Valley Chiefs.

The peewees have 59 goals for and 39 goals against, and there are a few really strong second-year players (Rylan Krawietz, Tanner Livingston, Travyn Foster) who are carrying the team towards the Tier 3 League Banner.

Goaltending-wise, Lucas Handley and Matt Mercer have both been strong between the pipes, managing to keep pucks out of the net at all costs.

North Island Bantam Eagles:

Who can stop the bantams this season? So far during preseason tiering and league play, the only answer has been the Juan De Fuca Grizzlies, but the bantams avenged that loss recently on the road.

After going undefeated in preseason tiering, the Bantams qualified for the Tier 2 division, where they currently sit tied for first place with the Tier 1 Comox Valley Chiefs.

The Bantams have a stunning 53 goals for and only 24 goals against, which is the lowest goals against average in the entire Tier 2 division.

With only four games left to play in the new year, the bantams have a chance at winning the Tier 2 league banner and then will be dropping down to Tier 3 to make a run at the playoff banner. If they win the playoff banner, they are then on their way to provincials.

The entire team has really chipped in this season, with Zach Spafford (20 goals in 16 games), Tye Morash, captain William Grant, and goaltender Logan Lamothe leading the way.

High scoring forward Kale Hunt should be back in the new year after some time off for an injury, which can only help the team on their quest for two banners.

North Island Midget Eagles:

The midgets had an okay start to the year by going 2-2 in preseason tiering, which meant they ended up qualifying for the Tier 3 division.

That was when the team really started to come together, and they went on a huge four-game win streak to kick off league play that propelled them to first place in the division, where they currently sit tied with bitter rivals, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Head coach Ryan Handley has really been working hard with the team this season, and you can see all the attention to detail has been paying off for them as they continue to meet their goals and succeed on the ice.

Standout players so far include captain Ryan Patterson, Joey Grant, Braden Walkus, Kai Cyr, and the goaltending tandem of Griffin Handley and Avary Miller has been exceptional.

Well that’s it for me, I hope you all have a great holidays with your families and I will keep you updated on all four teams successes and failures in the new year!

One thing I pride myself on as a journalist is that I always report on the game no matter what way the scoreboard leans at the end.

If you’re a visiting team and you come up here and beat the Eagles, congrats, be proud of yourself, there’s going to be videos and photos to prove it.

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. Email: editor@northislandgazette.com


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