A group of 11 and 12-year-olds made history, becoming the first B.C. team to capture the title at the prestigious Regina Peewee Classic hockey tournament.
This is the tournament’s 20th year, and while other teams from B.C. have come close, especially in recent years, it was the Langley A1 Eagles who got the job done.
The Eagles won thanks to a 6-4 victory over the Yorkton Terriers, one of the top teams from Saskatchewan.
“Everyone was focused and determined to help the team succeed,” said Langley coach Ryan Thorpe.
The Eagles, who are hosting the B.C. provincial championships in March, are currently ranked fourth by B.C. Hockey Now.
The team got off to a great start to the season, but the team had stumbled of late, according to team manager Mike Laurin. Despite the struggles, they still boast an impressive record of 25-6-3.
And two of their losses came to the top-ranked North Shore Winter Club and both were by just a single goal.
With playoffs just around the corner, the Eagles coaching staff felt the Regina tournament would be a good time to get the team out of town, away from any distractions, and focused on the stretch drive.
Langley arrived in Regina and won their pool in convincing fashion.
The Eagles opened with a 7-1 win over the Medicine Hat Venom, followed that with a 6-0 shutout over the Swift Current Broncos, and then destroyed the Regina Capitals 11-0.
In the quarter-finals, the team posted its third shutout in four games, 4-0 over the Winnipeg Northwest Stars.
The Eagles survived the semifinals thanks to a 3-2 win over the Okotoks Oilers, setting up the showdown with the Terriers.
Langley led 2-0 after one period and midway through the second, the team’s depth began to show.
The Eagles had been rolling all their lines, while Yorkton was riding their top couple of lines.
“They started to wear down and we were able to jump on them,” Thorpe explained, as the Eagles struck for a pair to lead 4-1 at intermission.
Yorkton did come out energized to start the third and twice got to within a goal, but Langley wound up winning 6-4.
“If you are going to win at any level, you can’t have just one or two lines going,” Laurin said.
“You need all three lines to be going and that was the case (in Regina).
“The boys just came together.”
“It was nice to get away and get back on track,” Thorpe said.
“So hopefully we can bottle that and keep it going moving forward.”
While the championship was nice, it is also a little frustrating for the coaching staff.
“We are capable of playing like this all the time,” Thorpe said.
“They are 11 and 12 years old and are going to show their age from time to time (but) we would love to see them play like this all the time.”
Eagles captain and defenceman Alec Capstick earned most valuable player honours, as well as being named a first-team all-star. Goaltender Braedon Fleming and forward James Malm were also first-team all-stars.