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From abject losers to proud tournament winners
On the last weekend of April, a group of guys quietly saw Sooke achieve national status in the Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! tournament. In the Youth Street “Grinders” division (19 and under), much to their own amazement, the Sooke Boyzz came in first.
The win was completely unexpected.
This is because their track record was less than stellar. When asked, “How did you do last year?” there was a ream of laughter around the table.
“We didn’t win a game last year,” said Kevyn Jacobsen, the team’s captain. Jonny Toombs and Colin Dinney are the assistant captains.
Last year when they played, they lost every game and came in last. Setting a realistic bar this year, the Boyzz hoped to win one game. And they duly celebrated when they won that. And then they won a second. After a few wins, they realized they actually had a shot at it this year, and they got serious. Serious enough to win.
In the finals, they faced off against the Street Hawks, the undefeated defending champions.
And to boot, they enjoyed their final victory twice. The first time was when the referee told them they won. They were ecstatic. Then, the ref came back to tell them he erred, that the game was in fact tied, and that it would be determined by a shoot-out. The Sooke Boyzz, much to their own amazement, won that too.
It wasn’t an easy victory. The competition was serious.
“There’s some WHL (Western Hockey League) players there,” said Jonny Toombs.
So the Sooke Boyzz stepped it up a notch. Or ten.
“We definitely improved from last year,” said Jacobsen. “We matured a bit,” he laughed.
This victory means that the Sooke Boyzz will be representing Vancouver Island at the Nationals, which will be held in Kingston on August 22 - 24.
They’re trying to find some sponsors to help them. “It’s the only way we’re going to be able to go is to raise some money,” said Stephen Heslop. Heslop is a new additional to the team, and he plays goalie with the Peninsula Panthers (Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League).
“Bottle drives, car washes, looking for different sponsors,” listed Dustin Sudlow, who played with the Sooke Midgets C1 team.
There will be flights for seven players and possibly their coach (Mike Toombs) to cover, registration fees, ground transportation, accommodation and probably a few miscellaneous things as well.
Heslop proposed an interesting fundraising idea.
“Do you think the Sooke Boyzz could do like a naked calendar?” he tentatively put out there as a fundraising initiative. They might not be kidding.
In the meanwhile, there’s practicing to be done, which they currently do at Journey middle school when school is out. They are also considering upgrading their team uniform, which initially consisted of white T-shirts with “Sooke Boyzz” printed on them. By hand. With a permanent black marker. Jacobsen’s handwriting, apparently, is not that good.
Anyone with fundraising ideas and suggestion can contact team Captain Kevyn Jacobsen by email, kevynJacobsen@gmail.com, or look for them at Journey.