SURREY — Valley West Hawks easily swept their best-of-three series to open the B.C. Major Midget League playoffs, but the harder work starts now.
Last weekend, the squad of 15-to-17-year-olds punished Greater Vancouver Canadians by scores of 9-2 and 8-1.
Now the team will face fourth-place Okanagan Rockets in the league semifinals, which starts at 8 p.m. Friday (March 11) at Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex and continues at South Surrey Arena on Saturday evening and, if necessary, Sunday afternoon.
During the regular season, the Hawks topped the 11-team BCMML with an impressive record of 33 wins, six losses and one tie.
The B.C.-wide league of regional teams allows teens to play high-level hockey close to home, and the Hawks’ roster is populated with players from Cloverdale, North Delta, Semiahmoo and Surrey minor associations.
“It’s high-stakes hockey, and there are no bad teams in our league,” said Jessie Leung, head coach of the Hawks.
“If you look at the structure of our season and our schedule, it’s very similar to what players would experience should they move on to junior. We play 40 games and it can be a grind, and you have to bring it every day, and that’s part of the learning.”
All season, the Hawks’ goal has been to get to the Telus Cup, the national midget hockey championship, to be held in Quispamsis, N.B., from April 18 to 24.
But first, the team is aiming to be the best of the BCMML as playoffs continue at South Surrey Arena this weekend and next.
“As top seed, we host everything from here on out,” Leung explained. “For us, I’m not ready to write off this season as a failure if we don’t win, because that’s not fair to our players or our program, but at the same time we put ourselves in a position where we can now play for a championship over the next few weeks here. That’s our goal.”
Top-scoring Hawks during the regular season were forwards Ben Evanish and Christian Bosa, who tallied 41 and 30 goals, respectively.
For the full roster and stats, click here.