The Elk Valley Wild U11 ‘A’ development team. From left to right, back row: Sullivan Pasiechnyk, Hayden Bristow, Dionysus Adrian, Lucas Johnson, Brody Maston (from the ‘house team’), Lilah Bowen, Sawyer Shaw. Middle row: Carter Stolarchuk, Kesler Traverse, Gavin Doey. Bottom row: Liam Cytko, Charlie Stolarchuk, Cooper Bauer, Katie Lui. Goalie: Robbie Chamberlain.

The Elk Valley Wild U11 ‘A’ development team. From left to right, back row: Sullivan Pasiechnyk, Hayden Bristow, Dionysus Adrian, Lucas Johnson, Brody Maston (from the ‘house team’), Lilah Bowen, Sawyer Shaw. Middle row: Carter Stolarchuk, Kesler Traverse, Gavin Doey. Bottom row: Liam Cytko, Charlie Stolarchuk, Cooper Bauer, Katie Lui. Goalie: Robbie Chamberlain.

‘Very proud of this group’: Elk Valley Wild U11 team finishes the year strong

The team won all five games in a regional tourney in earlier March, then won again in Edmonton

The Elk Valley Wild U11 ‘A’ development team had a victorious weekend of hockey earlier in the month, winning all five games in a regional tournament, before winning again over the past weekend in a larger not-for-stats tournament in Edmonton.

The mixed team of youth from Elkford and Sparwood first took the battle to Cranbrook Memorial Arena for the U11 Banner Championship Tournament from March 11 to 13. Their opponents were Cranbrook, Kimberley, Invermere, and Golden.

The team started playing on Saturday, and had five games in two days, explained assistant coach Jeff Cytko.

“It was pretty crazy,” he said.

After a day of games on Saturday, the young players had an early 7 a.m. game on Sunday. Their final game was against Kimberley in the afternoon.

Elk Valley defeated Kimberley 4-3 in regular time to secure the tournament win.

“We scored first, they tied it. We scored two more, they tied it. And then we got the last goal and then yeah, we ended up winning,” Cytko said.

“It was a very hard-fought game. Kimberley did very well too. I felt that the game really could have went either way.”

Following the tournament, the Elk Valley team had 40 games under their belt, with a record of 34-5-1.

The group had one more tournament to go after that, and it was a big one: a 66-team battle royal in Edmonton, with U9, U11, and U13 teams coming in from as far as the Northwest Territories, according to Cytko.

The ‘Spring On Ice’ tournament took place from March 25 to 27. The Elk Valley Wild played four games there, but Cytko said the games didn’t count for stats.

The team brought the banner they won at the Cranbrook tournament. They also went to an Edmonton Oilers NHL game on Thursday.

“They’re going to be in their jerseys, and they’re going to have the banner, and it’s going to be awesome,” Cytko said in an interview with The Free Press before the tournament took place.

“I’m sure we’ll make the jumbotron.”

The Elk Valley team ended up winning in their U11 tier 2 division against Calgary with a 4-2 score, Cytko told The Free Press on March 28, adding that it was a “great way to finish the year.”

Cytko has been coaching the same group of players since they were 5 years old.

“It always is great every year watching how they go from the start of the season to mid season to end season, and you can see how each and every one of them develop.”

“We have a very deep group. Every player brings something special to the team,” he said.

“Just very proud of this group.”

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