Valley slays Giants in finals

The Valley Selects won the gold medal at the Western Challenge Cup. The elite ball hockey championship was hosted in Langley and Aldergrove July 17 to 20. - Shelly Welch Photography
The Valley Selects won the gold medal at the Western Challenge Cup. The elite ball hockey championship was hosted in Langley and Aldergrove July 17 to 20.
— image credit: Shelly Welch Photography

The Valley Selects are the best in the west, fulfilling a pre-tournament commitment.

The team of 20 U19 ball hockey players — who play out of the Valley Ball Hockey Association — avenged an earlier loss, defeating the Delta Giants 5-0 in the gold medal game at the Western Challenge Cup.

The Cup — which was for top teams in the U11, U13, U15, U17 and U19 divisions — was held in Langley and Aldergrove from July 17 to July 20.

“This group of young men made a commitment to each other and to this tournament,” said Selects coach Wayne Van Geel.

“They were not going to settle for anything less than gold in their hometown of Langley.”

The Selects won their first three games — 8-1 over Metro and then 7-1 over both Richmond and Ridge Meadows. A common theme in all three games was that Valley scored in the opening minute.

The team’s final round-robin game was against Delta, a team with several players who had recently returned from Slovakia where they represented Canada at the U20 level.

The Giants prevailed 3-0 but the Selects qualified for the gold medal game as the second-place team.

The Selects — with a loud and boisterous crowd behind them — scored a couple of quick early goals en route to the 5-0 victory behind the shut-out goaltending of Wade Brenner.

“I am very proud of all of the players,” Van Geel said.

“This was my final year of coaching in the VBHA and to end it with a gold medal win was everything I had hoped for, not only for myself, but for the boys.”

The team is made up of Mike Bencze, Brian Stertz, Alex Ferguson, Chris Molloy, Bakshi Gill, Kevan Broekhuysen, Trevor Mainman, Cole Wynn, Bryce Pengelly, Cayden Helders, Colton Kahle, Scott McQuade, Garrett Van Geel, Brandon Grasby, Nick Hall, JR Cracknell, Bryce Pisiak, Brad Wightman, Ryan Fairley and Wade Brenner.

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