Players from the Terrace Midget Rep team gathered at the arena Wednesday night to film a video that they’re hoping will persuade Hockey Canada into allowing them into a year-end tournament.
The Midget Reps have had a rough week after learning an appeal by Smithers to BC Hockey involving an ineligible player at the championship tournament two weekends ago had been accepted, and the team was no longer going to provincials like they thought.
“It was pretty devastating to hear,” said team captain Austin Turner, who is a second-year player. “We’re feeling disappointed with the whole thing, upset. It really sucks for the third years on our team where it’s their last year in minor hockey – we won the game, we think that we’re going to provincials and then we find out a week later that we’re not going anymore.”
Now, barring intervention from Hockey Canada – an appeal is currently in process – the team’s season could be over. The deadline to apply for Tier 2 Provincials was Dec. 1 and the Kitimat and Smithers’ midget teams played a make-up game yesterday, that ended in a 4-2 win for Smithers meaning they will travel to Tier 3 Provincials in Port Alberni next Saturday, March 17.
But the players aren’t giving up yet – and they’re hoping the video will help their cause.
“We just thought it would be a good idea to make a video and get all of the faces of everybody on our team that’s involved in the problem … to show them what we can do,” he said. “I am holding out a little bit of hope that we’ll still get a chance to go, even if it’s not to the Tier 3 Provincials, but to the Tier 2 Provincials, I’m still hoping that we would get a shot to go.”
The Terrace team had a standout season – but Smithers was the one team they couldn’t beat and highlighted an already healthy rivalry between the communities.
“They were good games [against Smithers],” said Turner. “We hadn’t beaten them all year and then we came to this game and ended up beating them in overtime – so it was a pretty good rivalry. We always wanted to win, and I think they kind of underestimated us and thought that they had it in the bag when they were playing us because they hadn’t lost to us all year.”
But Turner says he and his teammates don’t feel any animosity towards the Smithers’ players, although it’s not water under the bridge just yet.
“It’s really the parents… After the game they were wishing us good luck, the players from Smithers, and they were sad too, the third years on their team. I think the parents should have just stayed out of it – it’s the kids that are out there playing the game, shooting, scoring, taking hits and getting beat up all day,” he said.
And he believes his team would have handled the situation differently, if the team’s roles had been reversed.
“If the decision had been made that we play another game, and then we lost, I don’t think there would have been parents on our team who would have went and wrote something up about that, I think we would have just taken the loss and went on,” noting he thinks his team would have also told the rival team about the ineligible player before the game.
But hindsight and hypotheticals won’t change the fact that this has been a tough life lesson for the Terrace team.
“Make sure you double check stuff, make sure you know the rules when you’re going to do something,” he said.
UPDATE: Here is the link to the players’ video on YouTube. http://youtu.be/ep6lZRpk46I