Hockey playing McCabes excel at the championship level

Keeping up with the hockey-playing McCabes has been a fun and proud challenge for their family and friends in Lillooet this spring.

Ashley McCabe, daughter of Lori and Steve McCabe, and her Kamloops Blazer teammates finished first in their division, winning the Midget A Female Division of the OMAHA (Okanagan Mainline Hockey Association). The Blazers then went on to host the Provincial Championships in Kamloops.

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Nick McCabe, son of Amber and John McCabe, will be going to the Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament with his 100 Mile House Wranglers teammates. The four-team, round robin tournament will be held in Victoria Apr. 7 to 10. The tournament will decide the B.C. Provincial Junior B Hockey Championship; the winner of the Taylor Cup moves onto the Western Canadian Junior B championship, the Keystone Cup.

In the first game of the Midget Girls Provincial Championships, the Blazers lost 2-1 to Williams Lake. Ashley, a 16-year-old centre, scored once in the second game, helping the Blazers to a 3-3 tie with Kootenay. In game three of the round robin against Surrey, Ashley had a goal and three assists in the Blazers’ convincing 6-2 victory.

In game 4, the Kamloops team defeated Terrace 4-1; Terrace had gone undefeated and hadn’t given up a goal in the earlier round robin games. Ashley was in on every one of the Kamloops goals, recording two goals and two assists. Her first goal was scored 13 seconds into the game, giving Kamloops the upper hand in the first minute of the game.

In the Mar. 30 final against Richmond, Kamloops lost by a disappointing 4-0 score, winding up with the silver medal in the Provincial Championships.

Steve McCabe said Ashley worked hard all season, but “definitely stepped up her game” for the playoffs. 

The game against Richmond was the final game of her final season for another Lillooet player, Cheyenne Watkinson. Cheyenne plays forward and defence for the Blazers.

“The girls all played super,” said Steve, who’s an assistant coach with the Blazers. He works with the team’s forwards for the most part.

There’s another Lillooet connection to the Blazers – head coach Dusty McLellan was born here and two his daughters, Lily and Georgia, play on the team.

In the Wranglers’ Okanagan/Shuswap Conference Finals, Nick McCabe was named Player of the Conference in the series. He scored four goals, including two game winners, and added two assists in the five game series against Summerland.

In the next round, he had three assists as the Wranglers clinched the 2015-16 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) Championship against the Kootenay Conference champion Kimberley Dynamiters in five games. The Wranglers won the last three games on home ice and the final game was a 2-1 nail-biter played in front of more than 750 cheering hometown fans.

“They’ve had great support from people in Lillooet,” said Nick’s mom Amber. “People from here were driving up to 100 Mile to see the games and the grandparents have been doing a lot of traveling!”

Nick, 19, plays centre. He has two more years of junior eligibility remaining.

Both McCabes learned to skate and play hockey at the Lillooet REC Centre.

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