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South Delta will defend U18 provincial title on home ice

Nine team championships starts Sunday at Ladner Leisure Centre with medal games taking place on Wednesday
Host South Delta Storm will head into B.C. Hockey's U18 Tier 2 Provincial Championships with plenty of momentum after winning the Pacific Coast Amateur playoff title March 5. Photo Glenn Jope

South Delta U18 Storm have the unique and rare opportunity of defending their provincial tier 2 championship on home ice.

For the first time in decades, the B.C. Hockey showcase tournament comes to Ladner, starting Sunday with nine teams from across the province.

The host U18 A1 Storm are joined by Williams Lake, Greater Trail, Fort St. John, Peninsula, Penticton, Cranbrook and Pacific Coast Amateur rivals Cloverdale and Sea-to-Sky.

Three days of round-robin action culminates with the cross-over semi-final games on Wednesday morning and the medal games later that evening. All the action takes place at the Ladner Leisure Centre.

It was a year ago in Campbell River where the Storm pulled off a dramatic double overtime victory over rival Hollyburn to cap an unbeaten run and deliver the South Delta Minor Association its first provincial title in years. The team has known for months it would be contending for gold again after SDMHA won the hosting bid, however, there have been no signs of complacency.

With seven returning players, head coach Ken Priestlay’s squad is enjoying another outstanding season. South Delta was the only tier 2 team competing in Pacific Amateur’s top flight in league play and more than held its own against larger associations, finishing with a 13-5-2 record. It was then off to the tier two playoffs where the Storm made short work of their rival Hollyburn (7-0 and 5-2) before capturing the PCAHA Final Four Playoff Championship earlier this month.

A 3-1 upset loss to Sea-to-Sky was followed by decisive victories over Port Coquitlam (9-1) and Cloverdale (7-1) to prevail in the round-robin format.

“We didn’t want to go into the provincials through the back door as the host. We wanted to win a few things then go in there as a team that legitimately could win provincials,” explained Priestlay. “The guys kind of thought Sea-to-Sky was a flight two team that we were going to handle. We played well enough to win and had our chances, but give them credit. They stuck to a game plan and it kind of frustrated us.

“At that point we could have just folded our tent and accepted the fact that we were going to provincials or we could actually still try to win it. We went out and probably played our two best games of the season with a lot of pressure on us. The boys played hard for all 60 minutes in both games and deserve a lot of credit.”

After opening against Cloverdale on Sunday morning, the Storm will conclude round-robin play against three teams they haven’t seen all season. It’s part of the mystique that comes with provincials.

“Out of hundreds of teams, these are the last nine still playing and they are here for a reason,” continued Priestlay. “This is not just playing Maple Ridge on Friday night in a regular home game. This is playing for legitimately being the best in the province, every game. Ladner supports people and hopefully (the community) comes out to this, even if they don’t have family members playing, just watch and cheer on the boys.”

Priestlay added praise to the parent volunteers that have taken on the challenge of organizing the championships, led by team manager Bobbi Venier. The many duties include hosting a tournament banquet on Saturday night at Harris Barn.

There is no admission for all the games. Instead non-perishable items and monetary donations will be collected at the door for the South Delta Food Bank.

 “This wouldn’t even be happening without the parents support and Bobbi stepping up the way they have,” he said. “She has put an endless amount of hours into this and has taken on this team as a manager to the point where I just have to show up at the rink and do my job.”

There is no admission for all the games. Instead non-perishable items and monetary donations will be collected at the door for the South Delta Food Bank.

Tournament Schedule:

Pool A: Cranbrook, Sea-to-Sky, Peninsula Penticton.

Pool B: South Delta, Cloverdale, Williams Lake, For St, John Greater Trail.


8 a.m. Cranbrook vs. Peninsula

10:45 a.m. Cloverdale vs. South Delta

1:30 p.m. Sea-to-Sky vs. Penticton

4:15 p.m. Greater Trail vs. Fort St. John

7 p.m. Opening Ceremonies

7:30 p.m. South Delta vs. Williams Lake


8 a.m. Greater Trail vs. Cloverdale

10:45 a.m. Peninsula vs. Sea-to-Sky

1:30 p.m. Fort St. John vs. Williams Lake

4:15 p.m. Penticton vs. Cranbrook

7 p.m. South Delta vs. Greater Trail


7 a.m. Cloverdale vs. Fort St. John

9:30 p.m. Williams Lake vs. Greater Trail 

Noon: Cranbrook vs. Sea-to-Sky

2:30 p.m. Peninsula vs, Penticton

5 p.m. Williams Lake vs. Cloverdale

7:30 p.m. Fort St. John vs, South Delta


8 a.m. Pool A 1st Place vs. Pool B 2nd place

11 a.m. Pool B 1st Place vs. Pool A 2nd Place

5 p.m. Bronze Medal Game

8 p.m. Gold Medal Game