2019 is already off to a good start for the local East Kootenay Zone Bantam Ice hockey team.
The team captured bronze at the Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament (KIBIHT) this past weekend. KIBIHT is one of the largest and longest running bantam hockey tournaments in Western Canada, with the first tournament held in 1969. The tournament takes place over 5 days in Kamloops and saw 32 teams from Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Yukon, Washington State and Alaska battling it out for the hardware.
Comprised of 2 divisions, the East Kootenay Bantam Ice participating in the Founders Division T2, battled hard and finished first in their round robin pool with wins against the Red Deer Steel Kings (5-4), Campbell River Tyees (6-0) and West Kelowna Warriors (5-4). Quarter final action saw a rematch against the Red Deer Steel Kings where the EK Ice fought back from a 2 goal deficit to win the game 4-2. The Ice then came up against a hot goalie for the semi final match up against the Olds Grizzlys, resulting in their first loss of the tournament and first loss in 10 games.
Regrouping for the bronze medal game, the Ice faced the Kamloops Jr. Blazers. The Blazers took the lead with a power play goal half way through the first period with the Ice scoring a goal to tie it up with one minute left in the first period. A quick goal at the beginning of the second period by the Ice saw them take the lead and secured the win with two empty net goals in the last minute of play to finish the game 4-1.
The East Kootenay Bantam Ice hockey team is comprised of 19 boys ages 13 and 14 from Canal Flats, Cranbrook, Fernie, Invermere and Kimberley. The EK Ice participate in the B.C. Hockey Zone Program and compete against other zone teams throughout the province and Yukon. The EK Ice play in Canal Flats this coming weekend before heading to 12 team tournament in Olds the following weekend. The team has only lost 2 of their last 17 games.