The Canadian School Sport Hockey League (CSSHL) declared its Western Canadian champions in a number of divisions over two weeks in March in Summerland and Penticton.
Formed in 2009 with five schools and eight teams with a vision to “establish a league designed specifically for elite-level student-athletes,” the CSSHL has since grown to 26 accredited schools/schools with residence and 94 teams playing in eight different age divisions.
The league gives the student-athletes an opportunity to increase their skills on and off the ice, and provides them with a high level of competition and exposure.
Five players from the region celebrated a Western Canadian U18 Female Prep championship as their Kelowna-based RINK Hockey Academy defeated the Delta Hockey Academy 3-2 in the final.
Emma Elders of Coldstream, and Lake Country’s Mikayla Blomquist, Jade Iginla, Alicia McDonald and Brooke Disher are members of RINK. Elders (University of Toronto), Iginla (Brown University) and Disher (Boston University) have hockey scholarships for next season.
RINK went undefeated in the division. They opened with a 14-0 win over the Pilot Mound Hockey Academy of Pilot Mound, Man., then followed with a 10-0 blanking of the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s U17 team (Vernon’s Jordan Tung is a goalie with OHA U17 – they also lost 8-1 to Delta before finishing the tourney with a 6-5 win over Pilot Mound).
RINK finished the preliminary round with a 3-1 win over the Northern Alberta Xtreme, and advanced to the final with a 5-1 semifinal win over the OHA U18 team.
The U15 Boys prep team from RINK made it to the final of their division, but lost 7-3 to Delta Hockey Academy. Vernon’s Morgan Hackman and Hudson Kibblewhite, and Joe Iginla of Lake Country, play for RINK. The team is coached by hockey Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla.
Former Vernon Vipers bench boss Mark Ferner is the head coach of RINK’s U15 boys team, which features Coldstream’s Ollie Reid and Maxson Reed, and Lake Country’s Jake Romanov-Lataviec and Logan McAloney. The team went 0-3.
Coldstream goalie Austin Seibel has spent the season playing for the Prairie Hockey Academy U17 prep squad in Caronport, Sask. Seibel and teammates went 0-3 in their division.
Parker MacDonald of Lake Country suits up with RINK’s U17 prep squad, which went 1-2, their lone victory coming in a 3-1 decision over Prairie Academy.
Lake Country’s Jace Harder and the RINK U16 prep team lost 7-3 to the Northern Alberta Xtreme in the semifinals of their event. RINK advanced to the final four with a 2-1 preliminary round record.
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