For The Morning Star
EDMONTON – For one former Vernon resident, immediate disappointment is overcome by reflection about what has been accomplished and what lies ahead.
James Dobrowolski is a member of the University of Alberta Golden Bears who lost to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in the Can West university men’s hockey final. Last weekend, the Golden Bears fell 4-0 Friday and 3-2 Saturday to the Huskies in Saskatoon.
After five years playing hockey with the Golden Bears, the 6-foot-3 205 lb. forward is ineligible to come back with the team in 2016-17 but will be with the team when the Golden Bears travel to the national University Cup tournament March 17-20 in Halifax to see if they can defend the national title they have won two years running.
“Winning the national title two years in a row (2013-15) is a pretty good experience,” Dobrowolski said. “My personal highlight was assisting on the winning goal in 2014.
“As for this year, it is nice to get that second shot. We can still be winners even though we did not win our league if we win the national title.”
The previous weekend (Feb. 25-26) saw the Golden Bears win two straight games in their best of three semifinal over Calgary’s Mount Royal Cougars.
The fifth year Golden Bear played all of his minor hockey in Vernon followed by two years of Major Midget in Kelowna and four years in the Western Hockey League with Prince Albert and Prince George.
“I am going to have a tough time trying to decide whether I should continue on with my education next year or turn pro,” he said. “A lot depends on whether I get in a physio therapy program next year.”
As for the Can West final weekend, Dobrowolski said the Golden Bears did not play their strongest, and when asked if the final series games were similar to the other ones played against the Huskies during the season, he agreed.
“They were pretty tight and pulled away from us in the third period,” Dobrowolski said of Game 2, a contest that the visitors led 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Game 1 was quite different as the Golden Bears did not score at all.
“We definitely did not play our best hockey in that one,” he said. “I know we played much better in the 3-2 game the following day and we hope to take it all again in Halifax.”