The North Island Eagles officially wrapped up hockey season with their annual awards ceremony, which was held this year at the Civic Centre in Port Hardy.
The event, which was held April 3, featured all of this year’s coaches giving speeches about the 2017-2018 season and handing out awards to the players for their dedication to the sport they love.
The North Island Gazette asked each head coach for their final thoughts on the season, and this is what they sent us.
Atom Eagles’ coach Dennis Foster:
The 2017/18 Atom Eagles continued to improve and persevere through a tough season. Looking back, it was a lot of fun for everyone involved. Some highlights of our season were the trip to Powell River when the power went out Saturday night. Sunday morning we played a great game, beating the eventual division 3 champs that morning. We also attended a Victoria Royals game on a road trip weekend.
As coaches, we always want to stress discipline and sportsmanship on the ice. This group of kids had the lowest penalty minute total in division 3 this year.
Hosting a tournament is always exciting and the kids played their best hockey to finish the season during our annual tournament. Always working hard and eager to learn, the kids really are the only reason we continue to come back and coach season to season.
Peewee Eagles’ coach Glenn Moore:
As I reflect back on the season, I think about all the comments on our peewees Facebook site, comments like “what a fun season”, “how we wish it wasn’t over”, and “how we are going to miss our hockey family through the summer”. I think I can speak for Nat, Doug and Chad when I say we feel the same way.
As a team we may not have had the success some of the other teams had, but I still feel it was a successful year, especially coming within one point of winning the league banner.
If I was to sum up the season in one word I would say “growth”.
When Doug, Chad and I coached this group two seasons ago we had a very young team with a lot of players playing rep hockey for the first time. The growth from that time has seen a couple of players change positions. We had two players join us and fit in right away with our group, and our veteran players step up and lead the team like we knew they could.
At the Atom Development level you are just finding out what players are capable of. This season, we were able to start putting players in roles. And I see good things for this group when they come back together for the 2019/20 season.
Having Natalie Stewart as our manager and the amazing parent group made this a season to remember. I don’t recall a single problem with our team all year, except me never knowing where practice was or game times, but Nat looked after me and kept me between the lines.
Bantam Eagles’ coach Ryan Handley:
As I sit back and reflect on our season there are so many positives we have to take out. We went through tiering without a real challenge, so as a coach it was hard to really know what we had. We knew Powell River would be tough along with Sooke and Alberni. So we fought for Tier 2 and were both happy and a bit nervous to get going.
We had two silvers in Island tournaments and travelled to Squamish for a Remembrance Day tourney and walked away with a third place trophy.
During a season there are so many ups and downs, and for us learning how to cope with adversity was our challenge. We knew if we played tier 3 we would have most likely won the league banner, but was it going to teach us how to beat the elite teams? No.
For this group to deal with everything they did and still manage to come within two wins of the provincials was nothing short of amazing.
It was a challenge for us at times. The jump from coaching 11 and 12-year-olds to 13 and 14-year-olds, some turning 15, wasn’t easy all the time. They are going through so much more than just hockey at this age, and for me personally, I learned a lot this season.
Our leadership group really stepped up when they needed to and had some big moments for us. I am very proud of them all and look forward to next year where maybe, just maybe, the third time will be the charm. I would like to send a special thanks to all the parents for allowing us to coach our way, it’s not easy for coaches, players and parents at times, but I thought everyone was very supportive. See you on the ball field!
Midget Eagles’ coach Marty Gage:
This was my 15th year coaching hockey and this season was unlike any other I’ve experienced in the past. I worked hard this year to focus on positives, we even had the players coming up to the coach’s board and writing down some positives.
Keeping to my theme of the year, being positive, I would like to give you some of the highlights of the season: Went through the tiering round with a 3-1-1 record, highlighted with a 6-6 tie in Sooke where I think we only had eight or nine skaters and then we earned ourselves a bit of a reputation when we hosted Comox’s tier 2 team and beat them 22-1.
After that performance, we were placed in tier 2 with three tier 2 teams and a tier 1 team. We finished league play with four wins, seven losses and a tie.
I want to say thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the team this year and wish the players all the best as they move forward in hockey and in life!
Full results from the North Island Eagles awards ceremony are as follows:
Tanner Livingston – Most dedicated medallion
Maddie Jorgenson – Most sportsmanlike medallion
William Harrison – Most improved medallion
Dakota Knighton – Most improved trophy
Robert Walkus – Most sportsmanlike trophy
Rylan Krawietz – Most valuable trophy
Kale Hunt – Most dedicated medallion
Lucca Stewart – Most sportsmanlike medallion
Logan Lamothe – Most improved medallion
Kai Verbrugge – Most valuable medallion
Christopher (Manitoba) Topfer – Most improved trophy
Landon Turgeon – Most sportsmanlike trophy
William Grant – Most valuable trophy
David Klatt – Most dedicated medallion
Tyler Roper – Most sportsmanlike medallion
Tristan Mardell – Most improved medallion
Mannie Browne – Most improved trophy
Skyler Evans – Most sportsmanlike trophy
Joey Grant – Most valuable trophy
David Wallace – Most sportsmanlike medallion
Stephen Alfred – Most improved medallion
Tanner Roberts – Most valuable medallion
Reece Lloyd – Most improved trophy
Jesse Lloyd – Most sportsmanlike trophy
Nigel Walkus – Most valuable trophy