The Midget Rep Blues will represent the Sunshine Coast March 14 to 20 at the 2004 Midget AA Provincial Championships in Parksville.
The Blues clinched the berth last weekend at the Final Four play downs in Port Moody. The Blues finished with a record of 2-1 at the event and will be joined in Parksville by West Vancouver as the two teams representing the Lower Mainland.
Other teams competing at the Oceanside Place Arena will be the tournament hosts, the Oceanside Midget Generals, and representatives from the East and West Kootenay's North Central, North Coast/Yukon, Northwest, Okanagan Mainline, Yukon and Vancouver Island.
The 11 teams will play a round robin event starting Sunday, March 14, with the championship finals slated for Friday, March 19.
Last week's Final Four did not start well for the Blues as they dropped a 4-0 game to Port Moody on Friday night.
With their backs against the wall, the Blues had to beat West Vancouver on Sunday night if they had any hope of advancing further.
It was a tall order, as West Vancouver was the defending champs and a tough Tier one squad, but the Blues played an inspiring game, narrowly escaping with a 7-6 win.
David Arduin led the way for the Blues with four goals, including two on the power play, while Nathan Petzold, Derek Inkster and Dave McLennan added singles.
Assists were credited to Vince Percy, Arduin, Inkster and a pair from Jeff Schwingenschloegl.
The Blues' final game was Monday night against Mission.
The Blues have had a challenge all season with Mission and their rough and penalty-filled style, but the Blues stuck to their own game and refused to be goaded into penalties.
The tactic worked, as the Blues pulled off a 7-4 win to clinch the provincials berth.
Arduin again had a big game scoring four goals and adding one assist. McLennan chipped in with a pair of goals, while Inkster added a single. Inkster also added a pair of assists, while single assists were credited to Petzold, Schwingenschloegl, Arduin, Doug Saunders, Graham Estey and Ricco Fernando.
With the provincials berth in the bag, the only thing left to decide was whether the Blues would finish first in the Final Four tournament and capture the banner. That was decided after West Van beat Port Moody in the final game and a new banner will now be flying high at the Sunshine Coast Arena.
Blues' head coach Russ MacLeod said he was proud of the team and feels confident heading into the provincials.
"The team is playing a disciplined, honest brand of hockey right now," MacLeod said. "They're staying out of the penalty box and that can do nothing but improve our chances as we carry on to Parksville. Monday's game against Mission was probably our best effort of the season. Everyone came to play, did their jobs and worked really hard for the win.
"Our goal was just to get to the provincials. Now our goal is to win it."
The Blues will start preparations for Parksville with a practice at 3:45 p.m. today (March 6) at the arena.
They will also have a special guest on hand as former Vancouver Canuck Gino Odjick will be out to support the team in a fund-raiser and drop the puck in the Killarney Knights Women's challenge game at 6:15 p.m. with the Midget C team.
Odjick is a family friend of the Hannas and their son Dylan who is one of the goalies for the Blues.
Odjick spent time with the Blues last weekend in Port Moody and told them that if they won, he would come to Sechelt for a practice and help the team out.
Fans attending the Knights game can get a picture with Odjick for $5 with all proceeds going to the Blues to help with costs for the provincials.
The Blues, who have received sponsor support throughout the season from Custom Carpet and Pharmasave, are appealing to others in the business community to help with costs. The team estimates it will cost around $15,000 for the team and parent supporters to make the trip to Parksville.
To offer financial assistance, call Luba Arduin at 604-885-6278 or Carol MacLeod at 604-885-6244.