The Nelson Minor Hockey bantam house Leafs won the West Kootenay championship last weekend.
“This group of players worked hard all year with the goal of winning a banner,” said head coach Dave Zarikoff. “It was a complete team effort.”
The Leafs won the final against the Trail Smoke Eaters on Sunday. Team manager Susan Lakeman said it was a fast-paced game. Trail scored early in the first, followed by a “spectacular top shelf” goal by Nelson’s Blair Sookro. Two more goals followed for Trail in the second period, and then two from Nelson’s Cody St. Thomas and Mike Zarikoff. The teams were tied into the third. In the last two minutes, Bradley Sookero slammed in the game winner to make it 4-3.
The league is made up of teams from Nelson, Spokane, Kaslo/Nakusp, two teams each from Trail and Castlegar, and Coeur d’Alene, who opted out of the finals.
Nelson came out ahead with a 3-1 win against the Trail Smoke Eaters in their first game on Feb. 19. In their second game, Nelson defeated the Castlegar Rockies 8-4, giving them six points in the playoff series.
“The team started the season strong and remained in first place throughout the season,” said Lakeman. “This group of kids simply love to play hockey and did so this season with a lot of effort and heart.”