Team BC tops U16 Challenge
The first Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup in 2009 featured four of the top eight players selected in this year's NHL draft.
The 2012 event, held last week in Calgary, included similar top-end prospects who may be destined to follow suit—including Richmond's Glenn Gawdin.
"He was great," said Team BC head coach Ryan Weber, who guided the provincial team to a 9-3 victory over Alberta in the tournament final.
"Not only did (Gawdin) bring his A game on the ice, but provided strength and leadership off it," said Weber, a fellow Richmond resident. "He was the recipient of the player-of-the-game award versus Saskatchewan in which he pocketed two third period goals on our way to a 4-1 victory and was also instrumental on our first line being successful, our powerplay clicking when we needed it most, and provided some hard work on our penalty kill. Glenn is going to have a bright future in hockey if he continues to push himself and strive for nothing but his best effort."
Team BC's success also further raised the profile of Weber, who has been coaching at the high-performance level for the last decade and was an assistant with the 2009 provincial under-16 team.
A common trait among his teams is preparation, which was abundant on the 2012 squad.
"Right from pre-stage through to the gold medal game our team grew, not only on the ice but also off it," said Weber. "When the event finally arose the entire team was prepared to win a gold medal. We knew going in that we had a great roster with some very high-end talent, but unless everyone showed up ready to compete on a shift-by-shift basis then we weren't going to be successful. So I feel our ultimate strength became our ability to play 60 minutes of high-paced hockey."
Weber was proud to see four different players win player-of-the-game awards. He said it showed how all the players committed to giving their best to the team.