The Juan de Fuca midget girls team shows off their newly acquired banner. The girls finished at the top of the league in regular season play.

JDF girls top in league play

Players respond to coach's approach in a big way in Colwood

The Juan de Fuca Grizzlies girls hockey team has something to celebrate after finishing the regular season as the best team in the league.

The team was acknowledged for an outstanding season that resulted in 29 points in 12 games before the start of the playoff tournament last weekend in Parksville.

That was the most points collected in the Vancouver Island Minor Hockey Association’s midget C division, which includes eight team’s from across the Island.

However, the Grizzlies came up short in the playoffs with an 8-4 loss to the Sooke Thunderbirds in the first round of the four-team playoff tournament, while Tri Port fell to Campbell River.

Sooke defeated the Campbell River Hurricanes 2-1 in the championship game.

Grizzlies team co-manager Kathy Turcotte said although the players weren’t happy about the playoff loss, receiving the regular season championship banner helped ease  disappointment.

She credited head coach Dave Saunders for his dedication and motivational skills in bringing out the best in the players this year.

“They all love and respect him so much,” Turcotte said. “The team really became like a sisterhood and worked hard to achieve success. And they had a lot of fun in the process.”

The team had a large roster of 20 players and the coaches did an amazing job of identifying roles and helping everyone contribute by ensuring they all had an appropriate amount of ice time, Turcotte noted. She also praised the efforts of assistant coaches Justin Campbell and Derrick Hamilton and co-manager Joanne Maclaren, as well as the volunteers and parents who all played a role in the team’s season. “We were like a close-knit family by the end of the season,” she added.

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