Lillooet kids making their mark

Local hockey players spread their wings

This past year, we have had a number of kids who started their hockey in Lillooet and have gone on to do some pretty impressive things.

For starters, Devon Grossler has completed a full year with the Princeton Posse of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

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Devon impressed his coaches with his hard work and determination all year and more than once earned "star of the game" status.

His scoring numbers also were impressive, 15 goals and 12 assists were a record for a Lillooet graduate.

His role as a player grew each month and he soon found himself as the team's number 1 penalty killer as well as fitting in on first and second line combinations when needed.

His coaches were so impressed with his efforts this year he earned the team award for "Hardest Worker" at this year's year-end banquet. "He has been an incredible worker for us this year," says coach Tyler Gunn.

Mitchell Sheridan joined Devon in Princeton this year, although in a different situation. Mitchell transferred over to Princeton to play on both the Posse and the Midget Rep team.

"This is great for us as we have an opportunity to work with our goalie of the future in Mitch. We are counting on him to be a fixture in our net next year," says Dale Hladun, the head coach of the Posse.

He played five games and even with the limited time still put up top 10 league leader stats as a rookie. Going to school, practicing and playing for two teams made for a full year. He must really love this goalie stuff.

Another excellent goalie from Lillooet is also making his mark, this time in Kamloops. Matt McCabe moved to Kamloops this year to further his hockey aspirations.

Matt was successful in knocking off a bunch of Kamloops goalies by making the Kamloops Tier 1 team, a great accomplishment.

Matt tells us he had a blast, faced a ton of shots and really enjoyed himself. Watch out for Matt to make the next jump soon as he is working very hard to get there.

We also had some girls turn some heads this year. Dayna Dew moved to Kamloops as well and she too beat out a number of players to earn a spot on the senior girls Tier 1 team.

This I'm sure is a first for Lillooet and I'm thinking Kamloops is wondering what these Lillooet kids are doing, taking these valuable spots from them.

In any event, Dayna did herself proud, playing an important role on the team. Her team was very successful this year, winning not only the Okanagan regional championship but also the grand poo-bah of them all, the provincial championship. Wow, awesome year, Dayna.

Recently we had another good news story as Jana McNary travelled to Princeton to compete at the very difficult under-18 regional tryouts. These are regional camps that will eventually select the very best 20 girls to represent our province in Halifax at the nationals.

The Okanagan region selects the very best girls from this region to go to the next level of provincial tryouts. The good news is, Jana is one of those few selected and very deserving as she has been an excellent player for our association for years.

Good luck, Jana, at the next stage.

So to Devon, Mitchell, Matt, Dayna, and Jana, good luck, keep up the hard work. You are all making Lillooet minor hockey very proud and remember, "Pistons never quit."

Lillooet minor hockey's awards night will be held at 6 p.m. this evening in the REC Centre gym.

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