Aldergrove players Thomas McManus (back, left), Brian Carlson, Ethan Hopnik, Ty Yakabuski, assist. captain James Kroeker, Nic Lacey, Mitchell Hoy, Alex Walton, assist. captain Bryce Walton and Jackson Winder beside athletes Brayden Rattenbury, Thomas McPhalen, captain Jordan Van Aert, Connor Galbraith, Aaron Burton, Matt Wright, Liam Silver, and goalies Carter Senger and Ethan Matthew.

Juvenile hockey returns to Aldergrove after 15 years

AMHA Bears return home as champions after March playoff series

This year marked the return of Juvenile hockey, after nearly 15 years without a hockey team for 18 and 19-year-olds in Aldergrove.

Eighteen athletes were led to playoff victory by head coach Brent Carlson after starting up the season with the Aldergrove Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) in September.

After their first playoff game ended in a 4-4 tie with Ridge Meadows, the Bears embarked on a road trip that saw them play two games in Alberta, just outside Edmonton.

Carlson said the road trip brought the team together, and after their return to the Lower Mainland the athletes snatched three consecutive wins – against Port Coquitlam (8-4), Richmond (4-2), and Burnaby (8-4).

For its teenage players, without a Juvenile team to play for last year in Aldergrove, the team’s return to the ice was a natural follow for those who finished their Midget season with AMHA in 2019.

RELATED: Langley sports groups suffer widespread shutdowns due to COVID-19

The Bears had an up-and-down season, Carlson said, as many athletes battled life post-secondary responsibilities including full-time work. 

“They still tried to find the time to play the sport they love,” Carlson lauded.

March 4 saw the Bears just one win away from bringing back the first-ever Juvenile banner to the new home of Aldergrove minor hockey, the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre.

In a heavily spirited and tight first period, the Bears were first to hit the scoreboard against Cloverdale off a set combination by James Kroeker, who assisted a goal by Liam Silver.

From there, the Bears found their groove, Carlson said, and Ethan Hopnik scored a natural hat trick.

The final goal was scored by Aldergrove forward Jackson Winder, and celebration ensued as the new blue banner was safely in sight with a final tally of 5-1.

In their regular season the Bears finished in 9th place of a 13-team division.

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