The West Coast Storm hockey team, which includes five 2002-born players and two coaches from North Vancouver Island, brought home gold medals last weekend after winning the B Division title in the annual Canlan Memorial Classic tournament in the Metro Vancouver area.
Coached by Marty Gage and assistant Shawn Patterson of Port Hardy, the squad was dropped from the A bracket in a tough semifinal loss to a Seattle team.
But the Storm bounced back in the B final to top West Coast Hockey of Washington State 2-1 and claim the top spot in the division.
Team members included Luke Gage, Ryan Patterson and Liem Wadhams of Port Hardy and Rhys Dutcyvich and Mathew Saunders of Port McNeill, all of whom skated last season for the North Island Eagles atom development team.
The tournament wrapped up the program’s spring season. Ironically, the players, who will move up to the peewee level this fall, learned and played body checking hockey for the first time over the last two months but will not get to check again for two years. BC Hockey ratified a decision by Hockey Canada last week to prohibit body checking in minor hockey until players reach the age of 13 (bantam level).