The Wolfpack loves hockey

The Yellowknife Wolfpack travel to Canadian communities to give its players a chance to play competitive hockey

THE YELLOWKNIFE WOLFPACK swarm after scoring a goal against the North Shore Winter Club in an 8-3 loss. Finishing 11th in the 12-team Sherwood Trophies Peewee Tier 2 Barn Burner tournament didn’t bother the WolfPack.

THE YELLOWKNIFE WOLFPACK swarm after scoring a goal against the North Shore Winter Club in an 8-3 loss. Finishing 11th in the 12-team Sherwood Trophies Peewee Tier 2 Barn Burner tournament didn’t bother the WolfPack.

The Yellowknife peewee Wolfpack take road trips to another level.

They are willing to board planes to face quality teams and travelled nearly 2,300 kilometres via WestJet to play in the Penticton Minor Hockey Association Peewee Tier 2 tournament over the weekend.

“It’s a great opportunity for us. Living far away, we don’t get the opportunity to play as many teams as we would like or the calibre of play we would like to find,” said Wolfpack coach Randy Caines, whose team finished 11th in the 12-team tournament after defeating the Salmon Arm Silvertips 5-3.  “It’s always difficult to find the right match in tournaments.”

The Wolfpack trailed the Silvertips 3-0 late in the second period on Nov. 22 when they began chipping away. Part of what helped the Wolfpack make the comeback was what their coaches told them during a timeout. The players were told to enjoy the moment of playing in an arena such as Memorial where Yellowknife product Vic Mercredi played as a member of the Penticton Broncos for two seasons, the last in which he put up 50 goal and 106 points. Mercredi played two games in the NHL for the Atlanta Flames. Caines said the coaches are proud when the players perform to their capabilities and it was doing that which also contributed to the comeback.

“Sometimes you try and carry it down the ice and you try and dilly-dally through some players. That was not working for us at all,” he said. “What was working was good old fashion hockey, dumped it in, applied the pressure and good things happen when you go to the net.”

The Wolfpack coach liked that his team stayed focused and dug down.

“They never gave up. Individual players got the goals. It was the team that worked together to win small battles and those small battles added up,” he said.

Liam Mathieson, Wolfpack captain, said they enjoyed playing in Penticton. He also felt they played well in their final game.

“It felt good not losing all of our games,” he said.

Walking down the tunnel to their dressing room, one Wolfpack player lifted his arms in the air and cheered the fact they didn’t finish last.

“For these kids, playing hockey is a treat. Standings is not as important,” added Caines when told about that. “We’re trying to find the competitive games. Sometimes it’s lopsided. We don’t have the luxury of playing every single weekend against same-calibre teams. You come down, take a gamble and hope you have a few good games. This certainly did make our weekend. It was the right tournament to come to to expose our players to high-calibre play. Also fortunate to be in a game that was really close.”

The Wolfpack got up at 3 a.m. on Nov. 20 to catch a connecting flight to Calgary before arriving in Kelowna. Their goalie was nearly late arriving as he missed the first flight and managed to catch a second flight at 1 p.m. The Wolfpack lost to the North Shore Winter Club 8-3. That was followed up by a 12-0 loss to Kelowna and a 9-3 loss to Coquitlam.

“The kids themselves don’t spend a whole lot of time reflecting on any losses,” he said. “They just like being together, they like playing hard and definitely the win is memorable.”

It was Caines’ idea to come to Penticton and he approached team manager April Desjarlais to see if it would work.

Along with playing in Penticton, the Wolfpack have played in Fort St. John, Whitehorse, Grand Prairie, Alta., and will go to Richmond. To make these trips happen, fundraising initiatives are organized and parents foot the bill for their children’s travel. The Wolfpack took advantage of seat sales of $400 return to come. Desjarlais estimated this season the team would spend $100,000 to play in tournaments.

When asked about what they thought of Penticton, Desjarlais said she loves it here. Her family has vacationed in Penticton and several of the players in the association have come to the South Okanagan and taken part in Okanagan Hockey Schools.

“Everyone is in love with this place. The association has been super helpful,” said Desjarlais.


Just Posted

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Goosebumps helped scare off predators

Your morning start for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Sue Birds captured this sunset photo that took place in between the rain and thunder Monday night, June 15, 2021. (Sue Birds)
Stormy sunsets over Okanagan Valley

Monday night had thunder, rain and stunning sunsets

Owner Daren McWhinney is really excited about the new location of Angry Vegan which just opened up at 536 Main Street. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton’s Main Street turns into foodie heaven

Angry Vegan, Wild Ginger, Twisted Chopsticks and Gratify recently opened

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

Vernon Elks Lodge secretary-treasurer Maureen Sather says special relief funding for the organization courtesy of Community Futures North Okanagan has been just that: a relief. (Photo submitted)
Zero funding for Vernon Elks club

Once-in-100-years grant denied after back and forth with city for support

Lyndsay Fillier and Braden Taylor have been living the van life for four years and they've detailed the first year of their adventures in a new book. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Okanagan couple details first year of van life in new book

Lyndsay Fillier and Braden Taylor have been living the van life for four years

A young child was taken to hospital after being struck by a vehicle on 30th Avenue in Vernon Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Child OK after being hit by car in Vernon

Father says daughter was back home by supper time

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

Most Read