“I’ve been fortunate enough to coach at different levels of hockey for a number of years now, and this year will have been one of the most rewarding without a doubt,” head coach of the U11 female team, Jamie Hodson said.
With much of the same team together from a season ago – with a trio of Reston area girls added to the mix – the Virden Junior Oil Capitals won 38 games, lost two and tied one. Last week the squad won the Rural Manitoba Female Hockey League U11 championship. This capped a season in which the Virden team earned silver medals at the U11 A provincials and won the Elkhorn tournament and the Portage Cup.
“We’re very proud of all the girls and coaches and parents,” Hodson said. “You can’t really have a year like that without just everything going right. … Everyone had a role to play on the team from our scorers to our checkers to our defence and our goaltending.”
As for the on-ice success, the head coach said, “All of the girls work hard for each other and play the game the right way – work hard and just play from the start to the finish and never give up. … I think they just believed in themselves as a group. They just got along so well both on and off the ice. Just a really tight-knit group of girls.”
While the team succeeded in games, it also impressed in practices and off the ice.
“Just very lucky – all of us as coaches – to be able to work with these girls because they are well behaved, well mannered, come from great families. Great parents,” Hodson said. “Just a really unique group this year. … Obviously a very talented group on the ice. That was kind of the cherry on top.”
The Junior Oil Capitals were 18-0 in league play. They went a perfect 6-0 in playoffs. The top-seeded squad swept its best-of-three series against the Brandon Silver Knights in the quarterfinals and Hamiota in the semifinals. In the league championship series, the Junior Oil Capitals won both of their games versus the Deloraine-based Southwest Stars.
The Junior Oil Capitals hosted the provincial tournament in Reston. In pool play, Virden beat Notre Dame, 13-0; Altona, 6-4; and Stonewall, 6-1. In the semifinals, Virden won 6-2 against the Southwest Stars before falling to the Southeast Spitfires, 7-2.
Provincial tournament organizer Tara Cowan sad, “it was a very successful event. We heard from most teams that they enjoyed the weekend. All the teams played hard and had fun. A big thanks to everyone that came out to play, spectate, ref, and volunteer.”
The Junior Oil Capitals roster included Kinsley Robertson, Kennedy Auger, Lauren Thiessen, Meredith Masson, Ziyah Careme, Makayla Gabrielle, Willow Hodson, Harley Cook, McKinnley Walton, Payton Flannery, Ella Wohlgemuth, Gracie Lawrence, Laney George, Novalee Hack, and Demi Hodson. The coaches were head coach Jamie Hodson; assistant coaches Dallas George, Karla Robertson, and Hannah Tolton; and manager Megan Gabrielle.