Team BC, along with Williams Lake’s Cory Loring, Chase Dubois and Daine Dubois, blanked Team North, 3-0, to bring home gold Saturday from the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships.
Goaltender Tamara William and Ruthie Jackson, also of Williams Lake, meanwhile, helped the Team BC girls to a fourth-place finish.
The tournament, held May 2-7 in Mississauga, Ont. at the Iceland Sport Complex, featured 400 athletes spread across eight teams.
The BC boys went unbeaten in the tournament after coming in seeded third, downing Atlantic 9-1, Alberta 2-1, North 6-2, Sakatchewan 6-2 and Manitoba 3-2 in overtime in the semifinal.
Chase, who had not played since Jan. 9 after breaking his fibia while playing last season for the Cariboo Cougars of the BC Major Midget Hockey League, said it was odd to step back on the ice.
“I hadn’t been in a game situation for a few months and to come back at nationals, it took a few games to get my timing and skating back. [But] it meant a lot to win gold in my final year because being a national champion doesn’t happen to many people.”
Chase’s younger brother Daine, who played alongside Chase last season with the Cougars, added it was a great experience to play at nationals and even more special to win.
“I’m looking forward to trying out for Team BC again and playing to defend our championship gold,” Daine said.
Both agreed the semifinal against Manitoba was the most intense game of the tournament.
Loring, a Williams Lake Midget Timberwolves player last year, echoed Daine’s comments and said he’s looking toward next year when the tournament will be hosted in Penticton.
“I’m looking forward to next year to try to go back to back in Penticton,” he said.
“It was a really fun experience playing against players from different provinces. It makes it even sweeter to win gold. It was just a fun time on and off the ice the whole time we were there.”
On the girls’ side BC opened its tournament with a 1-0 loss versus Ontario, then lost a hard-fought battle with Manitoba, 3-0, before picking up steam and beating North (5-2) and Alberta (5-3).
They then dropped a heartbreaker to Saskatchewan, 2-0, before being eliminated from the tournament in the bronze-medal game against Manitoba in overtime, 2-1.
William played last season with the Northern Capitals of the BC Female Major Midget League, while Jackson suited up in her hometown for the Williams Lake Female Midget Timberwolves.
“I was expecting good competition and I thought [we] had a good chance and we were aiming to place first,” Jackson said. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
“I was very proud to be selected to represent BC and even though we placed fourth I’m proud of all the girls. The most difficult part emotionally wasn’t losing, but leaving behind the people I had grown so close to.”
A highlight for all the players was spending time in Toronto for the opening ceremonies at the Hockey Hall of Fame, then attending a Toronto Blue Jays game and visiting Jurassic Park for the Toronto Raptors’ game seven win over the Indiana Pacers.