Fernie’s Jr. Ghostrider Peewee Rep team won provincials in Armstrong B.C. on Mar. 17, defeating the North Okanagan Knights 1-0 for the championship title.
The Palmer family has a lot invested in the team, as Tyler Palmer is the team’s goalie, Mark Palmer is the team’s coach, and Shari Palmer manages the team. Overall, the team had an impressive season with a record of 36-17-5 and winning five of the eight tournaments they participated in.
This was back-to back-provincials for the young goalie.
“This was my second provincials. We made it last year but this year was harder. Last year we played down a tier, we played Tier 2 so it was a lot easier,” said Tyler. “There were some good games – we played good and some we played bad. The last game was really intense and hard. We played the home team, the North Okanagan Knights.”
Mark added, “I saw him take a big breath of relief when we won. We were under siege most of the game, we played a lot of it in our own zone and we were only up one nothing so to have your goalie put up a 57 shot shut-out for the second time that day is awesome.”
It was not an easy provincial win for the peewee team, whose players are between 11 and 12 years old.
“We came back from a hole that seemed like an inevitable loss. It was a seven-team tournament with a six game round robin so everyone played everyone. The way it was sizing up it looked like we were pretty much done and we had no chance of coming back. One of our assistant coaches, Bill Johnson, looked through the schedule and said there is a chance.”
Johnson found the movie-like conditions that needed to be met for the Jr. Ghostriders to go to the finals. Seven situations needed to go their way, most of them beyond the team’s control.
“He said that we needed seven things to happen in order for us to make it to the finals. Between our fourth and fifth game four of those things rattled off perfectly,” said Mark. “On the last day, we needed a team who hadn’t won a game in the provincials to beat one of the best teams there and they shut them out,” said Mark. “We needed another lucky win between two teams to go our way and it did. It was ridiculous.”
Even with the conditions met, there was still a three-way tie.
“It was crazy to see all those odds come together. Bill Johnson just kept saying ‘It is destiny.’ He used that word over and over, every time something would happen he would just say ‘destiny’,” said Mark
According to Shari, the entire team performed well.
“The game-winning goal was scored by Dom Derban with an assist from Bennett Arling. It was the only goal in the championship game. Our Captain Liam Samycia had an impressive point count of five goals and five assists at the Provincial Championship Tournament.”
Tyler won the final with his second shut out and was greeted by his team charging toward him in exhilaration.
“It was exciting, we were all celebrating and really happy. I almost went to the ground when the team came at me after we won,” said Tyler. “It wasn’t terrifying when they came at me, but I was kind of worried about being tackled backwards and hitting the ice but it was so much fun. I am looking forward to playing next year.”