Port Alberni’s U13 Bulldogs win gold in Thanksgiving hockey tournament

Kolten Brown of the U13 Alberni Valley Bulldogs battles with a Peninsula player during Monday’s gold medal game. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Kolten Brown of the U13 Alberni Valley Bulldogs battles with a Peninsula player during Monday’s gold medal game. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
The Alberni Valley U13 Bulldogs celebrate after a goal in the first period of the gold medal game. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)The Alberni Valley U13 Bulldogs celebrate after a goal in the first period of the gold medal game. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Deacon Massop of the U13 Alberni Valley Bulldogs battles with a Peninsula player for the puck. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Deacon Massop of the U13 Alberni Valley Bulldogs battles with a Peninsula player for the puck. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
The U13 Alberni Valley Bulldogs celebrate their gold medal win on Thanksgiving Day, Oct. 11, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY CYNTHIA FOWLER)The U13 Alberni Valley Bulldogs celebrate their gold medal win on Thanksgiving Day, Oct. 11, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY CYNTHIA FOWLER)

A Port Alberni minor hockey team won gold in their first home tournament since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared more than a year ago.

The U13 Alberni Valley Bulldogs made it to the gold medal game in the Alberni Valley Minor Hockey Association’s (AVMHA) Thanksgiving Classic tournament. They went up against the Peninsula Eagles and won 6-0.

“We pretty much dominated from the start,” said head coach Mike Doucette. “Our goalie [Xavier Hahn] played fantastic.”

The U13 Thanksgiving Classic took place Oct. 8-11 for Tier 2 and 3 teams on Vancouver Island. The home team tied one game and won five on their way to win the gold medal. The Peninsula Eagles took silver, while Nanaimo won bronze.

Doucette said the team hasn’t found it difficult getting back into the swing of things after more than a year off.

“Everyone was so eager and ready to get going,” he said.

It was the first tournament that AVMHA has hosted since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared back in March 2020. Doucette said it went well, mostly due to the help of volunteers.

“It was amazing having fans back in the building,” he said.

The Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association’s 2020-2021 season didn’t go as planned due to COVID-19 restrictions. A handful of games were able to take place before further restrictions cancelled the remainder of the season, limiting players to practices and scrimmages.

But a new VIAHA season started up in September, and Doucette said games have been going well so far.

“I see improvement and development in the kids already,” he said. “They’re very happy to be back playing games.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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