The Columbia Valley Rockies are piling up wins and gaining momentum as the season progresses. Midway through the season, head coach Wade Dubielewicz said: “It’s the most successful season we’ve had in a long time.”
The credit goes to each and every player, he said.
“If you look at stats, it’s a full team effort not just one or two guys doing all the work,” he said. “Everyone’s producing and pitching in… I really think this is a resilient group. We could be down two goals and then score two goals in two minutes.”
With 19 wins, 8 losses and 3 overtime losses as of Tuesday, December 18th, the team is performing at record levels. But as well as the players are doing, Mr. Dubielewicz is not content.
“Our staff has such high expectations because we know that we can be that good,” he said. “I want to see our team get mentally and physically tougher from the beginning of the game to the end.”
Dace Prymak, who has scored nine goals already this season and made 19 assists as of December 11th, said: “I think we have good guys in the room and always manage to push through.”
Mr. Prymak said the best moment of the season so far was watching Kale Hawryluk take the puck from the Rockies’ end and send it straight into their opponents’ net.
“It was a huge relief knowing we weren’t losing that game,” he said. “It was pretty big for the team.”
Goalie Ben Kelsch has spent three seasons with the Rockies and said this is already the best one yet.
“It’s fun. Winning is fun,” he said. “Wade built quite a team.”
Although the team started strong and then faltered, he said: “We’ve definitely picked it up the past month or two… Things are finally clicking.”
Fraser McMann has 11 goals and 16 assists on his record for the season and is hoping for a deep playoff run.
“We got a special group here and we want to win it all,” he said. “I think we’ve got a championship team… We have a lot of leaders in the room and I think that will make us successful this year.”
Mr. Dubielewicz remains cautiously optimistic.
“I think we could potentially have a special ending to the season. There’s a lot of work to be done,” he said. “We have some maturing to do and some learning.”
#20 in the sky:
The Columbia Valley Rockies are paying tribute to a former Rockies player who died October 22nd from injuries sustained in a car crash October 16th.
The Rockies will be retiring Jayden Jefferson’s number (#20) to honour the Invermere player who gave so much to his team before his life was cut short.
The Pioneer asked Rockies head coach Wade Dubielewicz to share a few words about Jayden.
“Jayden as a hockey player was big, strong and a great skater. He had a good shot and a great understanding for the game. He was a good teammate and was always there for the other players. He was the type of kid that was first to the rink and early for every practice or team event. He was coachable and had the mentality that he was going to get better everyday whether it was at a workout or on the ice. He was the type of kid you could count on to get the job done whatever the task. Jayden was a pillar of the community and always represented our team with dignity and pride. It was always apparent that young minor hockey players, teammates, friends and members of the community looked toward him with enormous respect and admiration.”
Come to the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena Saturday, January 5th for the tribute event.
Jayden’s family says thank you to the community for all the support shown during this difficult time. There will be a celebration of life for Jayden in the spring. Jayden was 20 years old.