Coming off a stellar regular season and an unbeaten playoff, the Central Zone Rockets will look to carry that momentum into the B.C. Hockey midget tier 1 championship beginning Sunday in Fort St. John.
The Rockets will play six round-robin games against Prince George, Saanich, Vancouver, Burnaby, Kootenay and the host team from Fort St John. The top two teams will meet in the championship game on March 23.
The Rockets have posted a 31-8-4 record this season.
“The success of this year’s Central Zone team has been a group effort by the players,” said Rockets coach Devon Sandvold. “We have really tried to instill team play, hard work and accountability from day one when the team was put together and roster finalized.”
In the Okanagan Mainline playoffs, the Rockets went 4-0 in the playoff format, then beat the Thompson Zone in the final 6-3 to qualify for provincials.
The Central Zone Rockets will be in Nanaimo March 19 to 22 for the bantam tier 1 finals. Joining the Kelowna-based squad will be teams from Prince George, Yukon, Ridge Meadows, Seafair, Victoria and East Kootenay.
The Rockets qualified for provincials after going 2-1 in the Okanagan Mainline playoff round robin, then clinching the berth with a 3-2 final game win over Kamloops.
The Central Zone boys, who played 64 games and in four tournaments this year, saved some of their best hockey for the league finale.
“The boys have done very well over the year but came together (against Kamloops), playing for each other and buying into the new system,” said Rockets coach Lee Hamilton.
Other Kelowna minor teams competing in upcoming provincial tournaments next week:
• Kelowna bantam female—March 21 to 24 in Vancouver
• Kelowna peewee female—March 22 to 25 in Dawson Creek
• Kelowna peewee tier 1—March 19 to 22 in Kamloops
• Kelowna peewee tier 3—March 19 to 23 in Summerlan