‘Is Your Motherwell’ and ‘Mid Ice Crisis’ Win Championships
Two undefeated teams were upset in the finals as the Sun Peaks Hockey League (SPHL) crowned its 2016 champions on Feb. 4.
‘Is Your Motherwell’ claimed the novice division title with a 2-1 win over the undefeated ‘Sticks ‘N Cyder’. The winning team, comprised of one player from New Zealand and the remainder from Germany, used tactics more commonly found in soccer to outscore their opponents, and celebrated each goal with a belly slide down the ice.
“It was amazing. I never expected it,” said novice champion Sebastian Hecke, who scored one of his team’s two goals in the final. “I thought we would be the worst players here when we started and it was a great feeling.”
The advanced division championship went down to the wire with ‘Mid Ice Crisis’ edging the undefeated ‘Skateful Dead’ 3-2 in a shootout. The final was highly contested with each team being stopped on a penalty shot in regulation time before ‘Mid Ice Crisis’ scored twice in the shootout to claim the championship.
The SPHL also presented individual awards for the season following the final games.
Riley Durrington won the most improved player, Jake Barton won the most valuable player, Brandon Cyncora was named the goaltender of the year, Tyler Flieger won the Jess Hough Enthusiast Award and on-ice volunteer of the year, Joe Cornwell won the sportsmanship award and Vicky Rutherford was named off-ice volunteer of the year.
Despite being the shortest season in league history, it was more popular than ever. Rosters were full with a total of 118 players, six goaltenders and 17 volunteers. Warm weather forced the first two weeks and last week of the regular season to be cancelled, leading to the first time the SPHL played only five weeks.
An NHL-sized, refrigerated rink could be ready in Sun Peaks for the next SPHL season, which would increase the length of the season and create an opportunity to increase the size of the league.
“I’m always looking for the next opportunity. The next big advancement will be when we move to a new ice surface,” said league co-ordinator Mike Billheimer. “That is a goal we look to make at some point is an extended season with more reliable ice.”