After a season that has seen them win nine out of 14 league games and achieve a number three ranking in the region, the Ashcroft Warriors of the Thompson Cariboo Minor Hockey Association will be hosting the Thompson Cariboo Super League Championship for the Atom division in Ashcroft.
The top six Atom teams in the region — from Ashcroft, Merritt, Chase, Lillooet, Logan Lake, and 100 Mile House — will be competing in the tournament at Drylands Arena from March 6 to 8.
The tournament winner gets the banner, and will compete in the district championship in Summerland on the weekend of March 13.
“Throughout the hockey year all the communities play in a league, and in the past a lot of our Ashcroft teams didn’t make a playoff spot,” explains Atom team manager Krista Billy.
“This year the Peewee, Midget, and Bantam teams didn’t make their playoffs, so this is really exciting.”
The team is made up of 13 players — four girls and nine boys — aged nine and 10 who have had practices every Tuesday and Thursday night throughout the season and played one or two games every weekend. They have also had additional power skating and goalie clinics, and in addition to the 14 league games have entered three tournaments and played 10 games there.
“They’re on the ice from Oct. 26 until the league ends on March 1,” says Billy. “It’s a pretty big commitment.”
She adds that they received a grant for $9,000 for power skating clinics and goalie clinics for all the divisions, and that many of the kids on the team were part of the Learn to Play clinic held in Ashcroft in November 2017. The clinic — put on by the Vancouver Canucks organization — allowed 29 local children to get their first taste of hockey, and provided them with a complete set of head-to-toe hockey equipment, including skates.
Team members come from Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Skeetchestn, Lytton, and Clinton, which Billy notes shows a lot of dedication.
“And they have a lot of support from their families. There’s a lot of time driving, and they wouldn’t be able to do it without their families and the support of the community coming out to cheer them on.”
She also gives a shout-out to the team’s coaches: Kris Billy, Justin Minnabarriet, and Brendan Minnabarriet. “They all work, but all three commit to making sure they’re at practices.”
The Atom tournament starts at 8 a.m. on Friday, March 6 at Drylands Arena in Ashcroft and continues over the next two days. The final games on Friday and Saturday start at 5 p.m., with the championship game starting at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 8. In addition to the exciting hockey action there will be a concession, 10 raffle baskets, and a 50/50 draw, and members of the community are encouraged to come out and cheer all the players on.
“Thank you to the community and to the Village of Ashcroft,” says Billy. “We hope to see people come out and support these young kids.”
For more details about the league, the tournament, and the schedule, check out the TCMHA Facebook page.