“Trust the process,” was a quote used a lot this season according to Smithers U18 Rep Team Manager Danielle Nixon.
And trusting the process would ultimately lead to a bronze medal at provincials for The Storm after winning zones Vanderhoof in March.
This season, Smithers Minor Hockey gained approval to have Hazelton and Houston players join the U18 team, and had six athletes on the team from those two associations.
“The bond was pretty instant and they all became family,” Coach Lenny Davis said. “We are proud of the ability these young athletes have to get up and dust off the losses and keep striving – they always continue to dig and play hard. Winning zone was awesome, they wanted that win, they won with one minute left in the overtime period.
“Five graduating athletes played their three senior years within the pandemic, which has impacted everybody, including our youth, yet they and the team showed gain in leadership, determination, skill development and growth.
“We are so proud that they got to participate in provincials in their final year of minor hockey. What a way to end this chapter for them.”
Nixon gave lots of credit to the staff.
“The team staff has dedicated many years and lots of time to these young adults on and off ice – not only are they great coaches but the bond that we see between them and these athletes is pretty amazing to witness.”
“Head Coach, Lenny Davis is the first consistent coach most of these players have had, moving here from Terrace four years ago was a tremendous gain for the group. He has many years of coaching different levels and teams, including leading his teams to provincials multiple times and receiving the gold medal.
“His coaching ethic and humour is exactly what the crew needed.”
Assistant Coach Darryl Devries has been a part of the minor hockey association in Smithers for a number of years.
He was an athlete himself, and has now dedicated ten years to coaching, with a few breaks in between. Usually coaching in the higher divisions, this was the first year coaching most these athletes.
“His quiet demeanour and witty jokes were a perfect balance to the coaching staff,” Nixon said.
Coach Dylan Oliarny is also a long time Smithers resident, playing in the association too. This marks his third year of coaching.
Coming to coach late this in the season, turned out to be beneficial to the team as he brought a lot of drive and humour to the team, fitting in perfectly, according to the players.
“The experience participating in BC hockey provincials was a privilege to be a part of, by all team staff, players and families. There were some setbacks with injured athletes, game suspensions and some interference, but the team held together with the support of their families, coaches and BC Hockey,” said Nixon.
“U18 Storm would also like to acknowledge all of our sponsors, their generosity was truly outstanding. Including Inner City Diesel’s President Eric Tevely whom provided transportation for coaches and players for the seven-day trip. Eric and his wife Niky Tevely have big hearts and always eager and willing to support this group.
“We are proud to receive the support everyone who help this season. It’s truly heartwarming to see all of the support a small town has to offer.”