Congratulations to the Campbell River Storm for winning their 10th Vancouver Island Hockey League (VIJHL) championship on Saturday.
Saturday’s Game 7 victory against the Saanich Braves was the second season in a row that the Storm came from behind to grasp title No. 10. That’s 10 titles in the 20-year existence of the team!
Now, many of those victories – seven in a row, in fact – came in the first years of the team when it sent early notice to all the other teams in the league that the Campbell River Storm takes its hockey seriously. Prior to the Storm’s existence, the VIJHL was seen as a league for junior-aged players no longer with Junior A and Major-junior leagues.
Now the league is seen as a legitimate developer of talent and skill and can serve as a stepping stone to Junior A and even major-junior leagues or to college and university hockey. League players – the Storm included – have placed players in college and university programs in the United States and Canada, parlaying their hockey into a post-secondary education, a worthwhile benefit. Other players have enjoyed the thrill of achieving success with teammates in the sport they love and at a high level.
The Storm is also serving as a mechanism for developing hockey talent in the Campbell River area. Young “homegrown” players, so to speak, aspire to playing for the Storm, again, seeing it as a place to play the game at a high level and perhaps translate it into something that will benefit their lives through education or other opportunities. The existence of a successful team with high standards set by quality coaching and management has an up-draft effect on the level of talent in minor hockey. And many local players are getting opportunities to play high-level hockey in their home town. A win-win situation if ever there was one.
So, congratulations, again, to the players, coaches, management, staff and owners of the Campbell River Storm on a successful season.
Whether we artificially a role in a team or an athlete or it’s just an inherent consequence, sports come to represent broader human attributes and traits, good and bad, rightly or wrongly. The Storm represents this community in the region and beyond and the image being presented is one of success and unity, worthwhile traits by which any community would like to be identified.
Meanwhile, the fun isn’t over, the Campbell River Storm now set off on a quest to secure the Cyclone Taylor Cup, emblematic of the British Columbia provincial Junior B hockey championship, on April 12-15 in Richmond.
Go get ‘em guys!