The Eastman Selects recently played in the CCM World Invitational in Chicago and came home with the gold. And Alex Saurette, one of their goaltenders, was named tournament MVP.
There were 32 teams in their division, and across all the age groups there were over 500 teams.
Head Coach Jeremy Gingras says as coaches, they wanted to at least get into the top 16.
“Then we got into the top 16 and the team just continued to gel and play well, and we just kept winning our games. Then eventually we played Windsor AAA Spitfires in the finals and we beat them 7-4.”
They were able to play teams that they would normally never get the opportunity to play against like Seattle, Florida, Omaha, California, and Windsor.
He says it was neat to have an all-Canadian final in a World Invitational, and notes they almost had an Eastman-Eastman final.
“Another Eastman team was in it as well, because there's the Eastman Black and Eastman White. We're the Eastman Black, and the Eastman White team, they actually lost to the Windsor team in the semi, so it could have been an Eastman-Eastman final.”
He says the kids all played very well.
“I'm very happy with their efforts, and I'm assuming the parents forking over the money to put their kids into this tournament, they were very happy with the turnout as well.”
Now heading into the rest of the season, the team is focused on winning the league again.
The teams has had a few league games since coming back from Chicago and they have won all three, so the kids haven't taken their foot off the gas yet.
The team is made up of 14 new players from the tryouts with just three returning kids from last year.
He says last year they ended the season 48-2, and this year they are 7-1, as they lost one game in Chicago 3-2.
Their next big tournament is in Brandon from February 1-4, which they won last year.
Gingras says hockey is truly a team effort, and is very thankful to coaching staff Travis Mason and Jay Roberts, and Manager Pamela May.
“From the goaltender, to the team manager, to the coaches, everywhere. You need everybody on the same page to have a successful season.”
He is also thankful to have a really good group of parents this season.
“We preach to the kids that their parents are putting all this time and effort in, so you have to show them on the ice that you want to put your time and effort in, and they've been doing it so I can't complain on that part.”
With files from Carly Koop
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