The Red River Wild PeeWee team was chosen to represent Manitoba in Canada’s PeeWee division at the 19th Annual Bell Capital Cup in Ottawa from Dec. 27-31. The team ended up undefeated, winning six games without having a single point made against them. Back row: coach Laurie Keck, coach Jared Wiebe, coach Kevin Klassen, manager Dixie Mazinke. Middle: #5 Rylan Keck, #6 Tyson Wiebe (A.P), #9 Keenan Bourcier, #12 Ayden Wiebe, #11Hayden Peters, #14 Spencer Sabourin. Front row: #10 Natasha Driedger, #2 Alex Manning, #31 Logan Mazinke, #7 Awstin Suwala, #4 Sebastien Hicks, #3 Ethan Clace.
Last month, the Red River Wild PeeWee team had the experience of a lifetime.
They were chosen to represent Manitoba in a special Canada 150 PeeWee division at the 19th Annual Bell Capital Cup in Ottawa from Dec. 27-31.
The division was comprised of the following 16 teams: Team Manitoba, Team Alberta, Team BC, Team New Brunswick, Team Newfoundland, Team Northern Ontario, Team Nova Scotia, Team Northwest Territories, Team Nunavut, Team Ottawa, Team Outaouais, Team PEI, Team Quebec, Team Saskatchewan, Team Southern Ontario, and Team Yukon.
The tournament was comprised of a four division round robin and a knock out quarter final round and semi final round. They also participated in a skills competition.
Wild spokesman and parent Kevin Clace says it was an amazing opportunity for this very eclectic team.
“The Red River Wild PeeWee (Team Manitoba) only has 11 players (10 skaters and 1 goalie, 10 males and one female). They come from the communities of St. Jean, Lowe Farm, Riverside, Rosenort, and Morris, representing the Francophone, Anglophone, and German cultures. They are all unique but come together as one on the ice.”
He says they truly blended and became Team Manitoba at the Bell Capital Cup - the world’s premier Atom, PeeWee, Bantam and Midget tournament.
Team Manitoba cleaned up 3 out of the 5 challenges at the skills competition: Power Play Challenge (Team Manitoba won both the offensive and defensive part of this challenge), Breakaway Challenge (won by Team Yukon), Agility Relay (won by Team Manitoba), Relay Race (won by Team Manitoba) and Target Shoot (won by Team Nunavut).
In three Round Robin games, Team Manitoba defeated Team PEI, Team Outaouais, and Team Newfoundland.
With Team Manitoba taking to the ice adorning the colours of Manitoba (yellow, black and white), after dominating the skills competition and their round robin pool, a buzz began to surface around the tournament about the incredible success of these 11 and 12 year olds, and they earned the nickname “The Killer Bees”, stemming from the famous hockey song.
They lived up to the nickname, defeating Team Alberta in the quarter final match, Team Northwest Territories in the semi final match, and winning the championship during their match against Team Yukon. Clace says ultimately, it was the team’s spirit, unity, speed, and passing that set them apart. “They really work together as a team. Everybody contributed in terms of points.”
He adds that one of the highlights of the tournament was seeing all these kids from all these different provinces and territories so proud of their province and territory.
“They knew they were representing something pretty big and our Team Manitoba, they really knew they were representing Manitoba. They displayed the true spirit of the prairies,” Clace said. “They were pretty proud to bring home the national championship.“
While in Ottawa, the team also got a private tour of Parliament, the Canadian Space and Aviation Museum and had supper at the Sens House. The players were also treated to a Senators vs. Bruins game during their trip.
Clace says at the end of the day, it was a true community effort that brought the team to the tournament.
“It takes all of these communities, coming together for us to have minor hockey. Every one of those people, those fans, those community members and all our sponsors, they’re the ones that come together to form a piece of Team Manitoba, and they all have a part of that championship win,” Clace added.
“This is their win, too. We’re so grateful to everyone for making this possible for these kids.”