The Campbell River U11A Tyees hockey club capped a very memorable and successful season on Sunday by winning the Vancouver Island Tier 1 league championship.
It was quite an endeavour for the youngsters, who finished with an astounding 37 victories, compared to just six losses and a tie, good for a .860 winning percentage.
First year U11 coach Bryce Cockburn showed incredible insight and passion in telling the Mirror why his team was able to overcome the odds and notch an astounding +229 goal difference. He also mentioned the personal connection which brought him to the bench for the U11 team.
“I’ve been involved with the CRMHA since around 2009,” said the skills coach, trainer and owner of Next Level Training. “My son made the U11 team this year, and I decided to coach it with him being on the team.”
Going through their regular season and playoffs in Tier 1 en route to the championship, The young guys did experience the bright lights of Vancouver, appearing in three tournaments on the lower mainland. This included a tournament win in the Richmond Ice Breaker on Thanksgiving weekend.
Cockburn says that while the goal was to generate success on a team level, it was also just as important to have fun and learn life skills as well.
“We went to Vancouver and part of that was just to test the adversity of these kids,” said Cockburn. We went out there, won some games and lost some games. They had to learn that losing was a part of life as well. You’re down 4-2 during a game, what are you going to do? are you going to fold the tend, or stand tall trying to get those goals back as a team?”
Now that is over, Cockburn said he isn’t sure what the immediate future holds. But he does know that these youngsters have a bright future.
“A lot of these kids will be involved in my spring program,” said Cockburn. “We’ve still got a couple of fun skates left for the kids and a little banquet this week. They’ll skate up in the spring until about may, and then be back at it in September.”
For more info on the Tyees youth hockey program, visit