Powell River Midget Rep Kings hockey team will defend its BC Hockey Midget Tier 3 Championship from March 17 to 21 in Cranbrook.
“That's been the goal since the beginning of the year, to get back to where they were and and have a chance of doing it all over again,” said Scott Mastrodonato, who is an assistant to head coach Andy Welsh.
The team advanced to the provincials after winning the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association championship banner for Tier 3 by sweeping Port Alberni in two games of a best-of-three game series. Powell River won 2-1 at home and 4-0 in Port Alberni on March 2.
“We took care of business and we’re moving on,” said Mastrodonato.
Last year’s midget reps played on the first Powell River hockey team to ever win a provincial minor hockey championship and this year’s team is out to prove it was not a fluke.
The current roster is just as strong, according to Mastrodonato, with a solid core of players who were there last year, who know the pressure of winning a championship and how hard it is to win.
“There has to be, I would say 10 returning players who are from last year's squad,” said Mastrodonato. “There's a number of kids on this team, probably seven or eight, they're now competing for their third consecutive opportunity to win the provincials.”
The team leaves Friday, March 15, for Cranbrook, as far as the team can imagine having to go.
It's a long season,” said Mastrodonato. “You have to earn your way there and these kids have had a really good season. I hope we're ready to peak at the right time.”
At this year’s eight-team round robin, Powell River will be closely watched by the competition as the players set out to defend their title.
“Some of the teams that were there last year are back again,” said Mastrodonato. “The top four teams from last year that made it through to the medal rounds will be there, so a target may be on our back as champions.”
Meanwhile, Powell River Bantam Rep Kings did not advance to the provincials after falling two games to one to Port Alberni. Last year, the bantams took the bronze medal.