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U11 Higginbotham wins provincial title

The Virden U11 Higginbotham Oil Capitals are provincial champs.
Virden U11 Higginbotham team line up after their provincial win.

The Virden U11 Higginbotham squad went a perfect 5-0 at the U11 Rural A1 provincials March 3-5 in Niverville and Ste. Agathe. Virden defeated Niverville, 6-2, in the gold medal game.

“They faced a lot of challenging teams that we had never played before,” head coach Mike Higginbotham said. “We kept working with the kids through their mistakes when they would come back to the bench and we also gave them credit for when they played a good shift, keeping them focused on the game and keeping the positive mindset even when we were down or tied was a key point in these games. It wasn’t without the help of all of our coaches, manager, and parents but at the end of the it came down to kids playing hard as a team and making it happen.”

Before that statement, the U11 bench boss explained that any tournament or provincial event is exciting – especially for players the age of his group. He noted they are staying in a hotel and hanging out with their teammates all weekend.

“We tried to keep a good balance between getting some rest and still making it fun for the kids,” Higginbotham said. “We also tried to harness this extra energy to keep the kids working hard and motivated to play. It paid off.”

At provincials, the team beat the Stonewall Blues, 4-3, and the Springfield Ice Hawks, 8-3, in pool play. To get to a medal game, the Oil Capitals defeated Swan Valley, 14-2. In a “back to back goal scoring game,” Higginbotham said Virden scored with a couple minutes left, to beat the Morden Hawks, 6-5, in the semifinals.

Earlier in the season, the team won the Blue Moon Division (B side) over Elm Creek at the U11 Portage Cup house league tournament.

Team members include:  Braxton Murray, Jack Murray, Tyler Warkentin, Mack Draper, Dax Kenderdine, Slone Brown, Ryver Forbes, Boeden Higginbotham, Bauer Challner, Kessler Brown, Noah Hall, Brayden Radford, Shaine Sharp, and Laney George. The assistant coaches are Lonnie Brown, Dave Challner, and Clayton Murray. Steve Warkentin is the manager. Missing from the photo are Bauer and Dave Challner.


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