The Atom Rep Blues finished their regular season on a winning note last Sunday with a hard fought 7-4 win over the Whistler Hawks.
After a successful exhibition and tiering round, the Blues found themselves losing three of their first four regular season starts. But from that point on they have not lost a game in league play, compiling a record of 14-3-3.
There are still a few other league games to be decided, but the Blues record will assure them of a high seed come playoff time next week.
Although no team can match the Blues 14 wins, there are sportsmanship points up for grabs that will play a factor in determining the final standings.
To the uninitiated this is the league mechanism that encourages players to play within the rules and not take an excessive number of penalties in a game.
Regardless of a win or loss, if you don't exceed a certain number of penalties per game, you still get a point. The magic number is three. A fourth penalty in any game and you lose that point. The Blues have struggled in this department, managing only 12 out of a possible 20 points. Hence teams who have managed to earn their sportsmanship points can take first place with less wins.
At a team party after Sunday's game, head coach Albert Bezaire and assistant coaches Arron Hamilton and Brian Geue set up a mock press conference with all the players lined up in front of parents posing as press reporters. The players were asked some tough and poignant questions about their season, their team and personal growth as players. Luckily for these tired hockey warriors each of the answers to these complex hockey development questions cleverly ended as a simple yes, but there were questions that would have been much harder for these boys to fathom at the beginning of this season. A deep bow in the direction of all the coaches, managers and supporting parents who made it all happen.
Between now and the playoffs, there is this weekend's atom/peewee tournament here on the Sunshine Coast. Teams from the Lower Mainland and Whitehorse will converge at our two arenas for what is sure to be a great long weekend of minor hockey.
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