TYSON WHITNEY PHOTOS                                The Tri-Port Midget Wild practice before playoffs.

TYSON WHITNEY PHOTOS The Tri-Port Midget Wild practice before playoffs.

VIDEO: Tri-Port Midget Wild reflect on minor hockey careers, get ready for playoffs

With what could possibly be the Tri-Port Midget Wild’s last playoff run coming up right around the corner, I went to the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena in Port Hardy to talk to the girls about their experiences playing over the years.

It’s definitely hard for me to sum up my thoughts on the Tri-Port Midget Wild, but I’m going to give it my best shot. Here we go.

I’ve been asked a few times why I’m such a big supporter of female hockey. It’s funny, I’ve never really thought of it as specifically supporting female hockey. To me, it’s always just been about supporting the dedicated youth who wanted to play the game they love.

Male or female, it doesn’t really matter. When it comes down to it, it’s all hockey and I’m really proud to cover the sport regardless of gender.

Interestingly enough, I was actually hired as a reporter here at the North Island Gazette back in 2015 thanks to an article I wrote on the team’s very first home game against the Campbell River Hurricanes.

The game was randomly held on a Wednesday, and it ended in a very close 3-3 tie. Four seasons later, these two teams are still battling against each other with a lot of the same players, which is honestly a bit surreal to me.

The exhibition game back in 2015 featured a little bit of everything: goal scoring, a brawl, and above all else, really strong hockey skills.

My dad came to watch the game with me, and he immediately pointed out Kerrigan Sharpe and Bree-Anna Henderson as players to watch. He wasn’t wrong in his assessment.

I was blown away by the team’s talent back then, and I still am today everytime I get the chance to catch some Wild hockey.

Some of my favourite memories as a sports journalist have come courtesy of watching them play. Covering the team as they went on to win 21 games straight en route to earning the league banner last year (after finishing in second place twice previously) is probably the best of the best, but other smaller moments like when Mackenzie Murgatroyd notched a natural hat trick against the Nanaimo Clippers in Port Alice, or the team winning their hometown Halloween tournament two years in a row, stick out like a sore thumb.

I was given a Wild jersey at their banquet last season, and I was planning on wearing it to their last home game of the season against the Hurricanes this weekend, but alas, the Hurricanes forfeited and I was robbed of the opportunity to see them play one last time.

That’s life I suppose.

With that said, I’d like to use this moment to say thank you’s to all the players who graciously allowed me to interview them, the team managers I’ve bothered endlessly to email me gamesheets, Lisa Brown for always being more than willing to jump on every opportunity to help me promote the team, and to all the coaches for their hard work and dedication they have put in to growing the team over the years of practices and games.

The 2018-2019 Wild team asked me to run a thank you in the paper, which you can read below:

“The Tri-Port Wild girls would like to acknowledge Mike Bell for the incredible last two seasons. Mike, not having his own kid on the team, volunteered his time to make it possible for us to continue playing hockey. With his positive, upbeat personality, he brought our team together to win our first league banner and multiple tournaments over the last two seasons. Thank you Mike for making our last years in minor hockey the most memorable times of our lives.”

A classy thank you from a classy team.

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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VIDEO: Tri-Port Midget Wild reflect on minor hockey careers, get ready for playoffs

VIDEO: Tri-Port Midget Wild reflect on minor hockey careers, get ready for playoffs