By CHARLES TWEED
Ponoka Minor Hockey and the Ponoka novice Big Country teamed up to host the Tournament of Champions March 24 to 27.
After a couple of hard fought losses against Simons Valley from Calgary and Spruce Grove, the Ponoka team found themselves in a final against the Airdrie Vipers.
Big Country came out guns a blazing and took the final 7-2.
“Our group worked really hard and we’ve got a lot of first years on our team so we’re still learning but we had a good end to our year,” said assistant coach Dean Brackenbury.
“It’s a good bunch of kids and they had lots of fun. That’s really all that matters.”
The win on Saturday night in front of a hometown crowd had the novice team pretty wound up.
“They were ecstatic, the little guys were very happy to finish up on a winning note, makes all the families involved pleased and gives them something to look forward to next year,” said Brackenbury.
He saw tremendous progress this year among the kids and believes hockey is a good tool to teach the players a lot of lessons they can take off the ice.
“We saw the kids make big strides — the whole point of being involved is to see the kids have some fun and try to support them and watch them develop as people. At this age we want to develop skills and some life skills as well,” said the second year coach.
“We learn how to become good citizens and how to work together and make a contribution to the greater good.”
Based on the smiles at the rink it’s working and one thing is certain, the Ponoka novice Big Country team closed out the 2011 season as winners.