Although they didn’t medal, the central Alberta U18AA female hockey team the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs had a strong showing at provincials, held in Ponoka from March 24 to 27.
“I feel the girls played very well and showed just how close we were to the top ranked teams in the league,” said head coach Brent McAuley. “We really did deserve a better fate. The hockey gods just weren’t on our side unfortunately.”
The Chiefs finished in sixth place out of 11 overall in the regular season league standings and were third in the south division.
The team is a group of 15 to 17-year-old high calibre female hockey players from across central Alberta. Players come from Red Deer, Ponoka, Innisfail, Lacombe, Forestburg, Rimbey, Caroline and Blackfalds.
All the games at provincials were hard-fought and very close, said McAuley.
“There were certain game tactics that we worked on all season in practice that actually came out during the toughest weekend of the season,” he said.
“We played well defensively and got some great goal tending as well. Overall, we competed hard and as this group showed all season, no matter what we faced we never ever gave up.”
Calgary Fire White were the gold medal winners, Sherwood Park Fury were silver medal winners and Calgary Fire Red were the bronze medal winners.
McAuley won the coach of the year award from the Alberta Female Hockey League, which was presented to him by Hockey Alberta U18 AA representative Stacey Keyowski and the general manager of the Red Deer Minor Hockey Association, Dallas Gaume.
“Provincials went very well,” said organizing committee chair Julie Feragen. “(We) had many great compliments on location, facility and community.”
Feragan added that third (alternate) jerseys were presented to the team prior to the first game.
“The team loved them and they will be a great keepsake for the girls,” she said.