It has been two years since the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships were held in the Cowichan Valley, but there will be no shortage of local connections to the B.C. teams at this year’s tournament in Whitehorse, Yukon.
Six players who call the Cowichan Valley home, one who plays for the Cowichan Valley Capitals, one who attends Shawnigan Lake School, and one with Cowichan Tribes ancestry, were named to the rosters for the B.C. boys and girls teams for the tournament that started on Tuesday.
“It is quite extraordinary for so many players to be selected from one area to represent B.C. at a national championship,” said Duncan’s Rick Brant, the executive director of the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council and father of two members of the B.C. boys team.
Brant’s sons Ty and Ben, who play for the Delta and Pacific Coast hockey academies, respectively, are suiting up for Team BC, as are Crofton’s Braden Blace, who also plays for PCHA, and Ladysmith’s Hunter Livingston, who plays with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds in Saskatchewan. Cowichan Valley Capitals assistant captain Kolton Cousins, from Sechelt, is also on the squad, along with Shawnigan Lake School goalie Aaron Trotter of Victoria and Lleyton Shearon of Langley and PCHA, who has Cowichan Tribes ancestry.
Jada Livingston and Kamryn Grooms, both of Ladysmith, are on the provincial girls team. Livingston plays with the midget female Notre Dame Hounds, and Grooms plays for Shawnigan Lake School.
Ty Brant and Hunter Livingston won gold with Team BC in 2018, and Ty Brant also won bronze in 2017 when the NAHC was hosted in the Cowichan Valley.
The head coach for B.C.’s boys team is Dwayne Roloson, a former NHL goalie who served as an assistant coach with two of Shawnigan Lake School’s teams in 2016-17.
I-SPARC selected players for the teams from a camp held in Abbotsford in early April.
“Our three-day selection camp showcased an amazing level of talent from across the province,” Brant said. “Team BC will be defending last year’s male gold medal performance and building on an impressive fourth-place finish by the female team. We are very pleased with our rosters and the strengths of our two teams as we prepare for the 2019 NAHC in Whitehorse.”