West Central Tigers claw their way to victory
By Tyler Klinkhammer
The West Central AA Midget Tigers were in Las Vegas competing in the international Silver Stick tournament.
The tournament was a regional playdown, where the winner would be invited to compete for the national Silver Stick title.
The Tigers came out of the tournament with four wins over the Park City Miners, the California Wave, and the Arizona Jr. Sun Devils, and a loss to the Golden State Elite Eagles.
Four games into the tournament the Tigers found themselves tied for first with the California Wave. Both teams entered the finals with a 3-1 record in the tournament.
The final game was a competitive one, with both teams scoring in the first and second periods to enter the third in a 2-2 stalemate. The Tigers emerged victorious with a 3-2 win over the California Wave.
The Tigers roster includes Bryn Hoiland, a young man from Rocky Mountain House.
Pat Garrity, head coach of the Tigers, was very pleased with how his team performed, and the level of competition at the tournament.
After their first game, a 6-0 victory over the Park City Miners, Garrity said the team wasn’t too sure what to think. But that “quickly changed.”
The rest of their games were one-goal games. “The teams that we played were very good, they were very big, they were very athletic and they were very well coached. It was a really good test for us,” he said.
Hockey has a slightly different rule-set in the States, Garrity said, but the team was able to adapt to the changes quickly.
“All in all I was super, super pleased with how we played.”
However, the tournament was not just about winning; it was also about providing the players with a unique competitive experience.
“Hockey aside, it’s about getting together and bonding as a team and creating memories that are forever. This team has gone to Denver, Great Falls, Phoenix, and now Las Vegas. It’s kind of a rite of passage for this team to do that, and it’s not easy. A lot of parents did a lot of work fundraising and putting lots of different things together. It was just a fantastic experience,” said Garrity. “It was great to win it, that’s a nice little feather in the boys cap, but at the end of the day, now they know each other better and their bond as a team is much stronger.”
The team is now back in Alberta and getting refocused on their league, looking for a strong finish to the 2018 half of the season.