Four Indigenous Coast hockey players make Team BC

Four Sunshine Coast players have been selected to represent Team BC at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC) in Whitehorse from May 7 to 12.

The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I-SPARC) and its provincial hockey committee made the announcement April 25.

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Janelle Sadler, a member of shíshálh Nation based in Kamloops who plays for the Kamloops Bantam A team, made the girls’ team.

“She was impressive right from the beginning,” said head coach Darrel Stanwood, who described Sadler as a “natural goal scorer.”

Kolton Cousins, a Métis player from Sechelt, Jaden Fodchuk of shíshálh Nation and Tyson Chidgey from Little Salmon of Carmacks and from Roberts Creek, made the boys’ team.

Cousins got his start in hockey with the Sunshine Coast Blues and now plays for Cowichan Valley Capitals’ Junior A team. “We’re proud to hear he’s participating,” said Mike Vandekamp, head coach for the Cowichan Valley.

This is Cousins’ second year playing in the province’s top junior A league. “He’s a spirited player, he’s a hard worker, he’s an inspirational player on our team,” Vandekamp said.

Fodchuk and Chidgey played for the Sunshine Coast Blues Midget A team last season.

“We are extremely proud of all three of these players’ accomplishments and wish them well in their tournament,” said Kate Turner, Sunshine Coast Minor Hockey Association registrar.

A selection camp was held from April 5 to 7 in Abbotsford, and the roster was built from the pool of 94 elite Indigenous players who participated. Last year, BC’s boys’ team won gold and the girls’ team took fourth.

The NAHC is the highest level of hockey competition exclusively for Indigenous Bantam and Midget players from across Canada. “It’s huge,” said Stanwood of the event’s importance for players. An elder will be accompanying Team BC to provide guidance as the players face off against other Canadian provinces.

“Congratulations to all the Team BC members selected to participate in the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Whitehorse,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, in a release. “You have travelled a long way to compete at the national level and you exemplify the amazing talent and spirit we have in B.C. I wish you the very best as you prepare for competition and I hope you truly enjoy your experience at the Games next month.”

Tournament games can be streamed at www.nahc2019.com/media/live-stream

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