Champs symbolic of growth

Kodiaks take Division B title; women’s game keeps maturing

There was a time, not that long ago, that many River East Kodiaks women’s hockey players had only just started to skate, were still learning how to drive to the net and were shaky taking a pass. There was a time, three years ago, when they lost every single game.Now, they can rightly call themselves city champs, undefeated across 22 tilts and, for now, on top of their game.

On Tuesday, while Queen’s We Are the Champions crackled and blared over the MTS Iceplex speakers, the 12-member Kodiaks squad gathered on the ice to savour the title. They’d just capped a perfect best-of-three series against the St. Norbert Celtics with a triumphant 4-1 win, a victory that put them on top of the Winnipeg Women’s High School Hockey League’s developmental Division B.

The game almost ended in a second consecutive shutout for Grade 12 goalie Sydne Valiquette, but for a late third-period strike by the Celtics’ Kennedy Hutcheson. It was a convincing win.

“It’s unbelievable,” assistant coach Pat Carroll said of the team’s remarkable year. “We didn’t expect that. We just wanted the girls to have a lot of fun, and they did… and they ended up winning, a lot.”

Now, the school could be figuring to make the jump up to the league’s Division A next year. “I think it will be good, it’ll be more competitive,” said Grade 11 forward Cassandra Szczepanski.

Full article on the Winnipeg Free Press