The South Island Royals Peewee Female hockey team showed its toughness and skill at a recent provincials tournament and walked away ranked fifth in the province.
“The kids were great all weekend and I think players and parents all had an excellent experience,” said coach and Ladysmith resident Kris Kennedy.
The Royals only formed last year and its 17-player roster includes girls from Ladysmith, Chemainus and as far south as Sooke.
At the tournament in Surrey, the Royals faced the host Falcons and well as the Richmond Ravens and suffered an emotional 5-2 loss to rivals the Kelowna Rockets.
Kennedy said it was close to the end and “most of the fans said that was the best game of the tournament.”
The Royals rebounded to top Kamloops 2-1 but were edged by the Tri Cities 7-4 in the final game.
Kennedy said the team played hard and ran into some penalty trouble “maybe due to playing boys all year in league play which brings our physicality up.”
“I really felt like all the games were winnable games,” he said, thanking host Surrey for the hospitality.
“I think we were quite physical against these female teams and I think the refereeing was not on the same page as our play.”
Looking back on the tournament, the Royals gained the necessary experience to be contenders again next season.
“I was very proud of our girls. We never gave up in any game and there were some fantastic moments in that tournament from our players,” the coach added.
“Not just in the scoring department but in all aspects of the games. The will to win was evident all tourney.”
A special thanks was extended to coaches, parents and manager Jill Stone.
“The improvement and experience of all our players this year from start to finish was excellent,” Kennedy said.
“I am very excited for all of them moving forward and I am sure they will be back next year in this championship final.”