A trio from the U18 AAA Greater Vancouver Canadians got an early jump on their junior careers by being part of the Delta Ice Hawks’ memorable run to the Cyclone Taylor Cup in Revelstoke.
Forwards Declan Warburton (17) and Sean Richards (16), along with blueliner Brandon Petrie (17) all saw time in the four-team provincial tournament that concluded with Delta being edged out of the gold medal game by eventual champion Revelstoke Grizzlies.
The Canadians enjoyed their own fine season in the B.C. Elite Hockey League, finishing in first place with a 27-3-4 record before falling in the finals to the Okanagan Rockets. Petrie was named to the league all-star team thanks to compiling 26 points in 34 games, including eight goals.
Ice Hawks GM and head coach Steve Robinson has never hesitated giving his team a late season or playoff push by inserting young talent.
With Delta dropping the opening two games of the PIJHL championship series to Ridge Meadows, Warburton and Petrie made their playoff debuts in game three, just two days after the Canadians’ season ended.
Both took regular shifts and saw their roles expand as the series progressed, culminating with a dramatic game seven overtime win.
When a pair of Ice Hawks regulars were unavailable for the Cyclone Taylor Cup, Richards was added to the roster and was inserted in the line-up for a must win game against Vancouver Island champion Oceanside.
“All three of them played great!” said Robinson. “Petrie and Warburton were making their seventh appearance of season and sixth of the playoffs and Richards stepped in for his first game of the year in a pressure cooker.”