The B.C. high school ball hockey provincials were again played in Surrey, and a Girls division champion was crowned for the very first time.
A Richmond team made history by winning the Girls title in overtime, topping Burnaby at North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex on Sunday, May 29. Teams representing Surrey and Vancouver also played in the division.
“We couldn’t get enough teams from (individual) schools for our first time with this, so we had girls teams representing different cities,” explained Rob Moxness, president of BC Ball Hockey Association and organizer of the provincial high school championship.
Pitt Meadows won the Boys A Division over Surrey’s Fleetwood Park, in a 5-0 final.
In all-Surrey championship game earlier that day, Panorama Ridge won the Boys B Division trophy over École Salish, 4-2. “Those teams played each other in the Surrey league final and then ended up in the provincial final as well, in that division,” Moxness noted.
With an “invitational” format, the BC Ball Hockey Association-hosted tournament has been played in Surrey since 2011, starting at the old North Surrey Recreation Centre and now down the hill at North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex.
“It was a very successful tournament, the first one back after a two-year pause, so it was good to be back,” Moxness said.
“It has been primarily a boys team championship, with a few girls participating with teams, here and there, over the years,” he added.
With the new Girls division, the goal is to increase the engagement of girls with the sport, Moxness said.
“We had a real collaboration with Surrey Minor Ball Hockey Association with this,” he added, “because we share the same goal, more girls playing, and we hope this is the thing to help that. Next year we hope there will be more girls playing, and we now have a network to draw on.”
The Vancouver girls team was a few players short of a full roster, Moxness reported, so some Surrey-area players joined them for the tournament.
“The girls, we may get some individual schools next year, we’re not sure yet, but the goal was to raise the awareness of it and create an identity for the sport among girls, and to maybe inspire some of the associations in the Lower Mainland to start programming to get more girls involved in ball hockey,” Moxness explained.
“There’s a lot of girls who play on the boys teams, and even in high school there were some who played for school teams – at Frank Hurt, for example – who ended up not playing in the girls tournament and played with the boys, and did quite well. But a lot of the girls and parents, they just want their own league or division.”