Fraser Valley Rush are bound for the Esso Cup, and their second bid for a national championship in as many years, after the Langley-based U18 women’s hockey team triumphed at the 2023 Pacific Regional Championships, defeating the Alberta champions Red Deer Chiefs.
Rush, a B.C. Elite Hockey League zone team that plays out of the Langley Twin Rinks with players from Whistler to Hope, including Langley and Surrey, took the best-of-three series, shutting out the Chiefs 2-0 on Friday, April 7, and 5-2 on Saturday, April 8 in Red Deer.
It came after the team swept the pacific regional championships following a BCEHL season where the team was all but unbeatable, with just two losses in 30 games.
— Fraser Valley Rush (@FVRush_aaa) April 9, 2023
Coach Tony Lindsay said it will be the second trip to the Esso Cup for many players, after the team came close, but had to sette for silver last year after losing 4-1 in the Cup final to Ontario’s Durham West Lightning, in a game televised nationally on TSN.
“We returned 13 players,” Lindsay told the Langley Advance Times, describing the roster as “a veteran team, if you will.”
After their “wide-eyed” first Esso outing, he said the team has a good idea of what to expect.
“They knew the intensity would ramp up,” Lindsay remarked.
“The challenge now, is we have to raise it another level. We have to out-compete the other team, we have to have more fun than the other team [because] we know we play better when we have fun.”
One of those returning veterans of the Esso campaign is Langley’s Mackenzie Galick, who plays defence.
“The experience I’ve had with the Fraser Valley Rush team has been amazing,” Galick commented.
“This is my second year with the team and the second year in a row that our team has won the provincial championships and, just this past weekend, the regional pacific championships in Red Deer. We are all so excited to have achieved this.”
“It’s incredible to be able to go back to the Esso Cup and represent our province,” Galick said. “We are all hoping to compete harder this year.”
Galick started out with the Langley Minor Hockey Association, playing on the peewee A1 boys team in her final year. In the 2021/22 season, she made the Rush roster, as an underage player at 14.
“It’s been an incredible experience for me” Galick said.
Rush GM Alain Wozney cited the team’s “amazing ability to have fun and enjoy every aspect of the game from the competition to the culture of the team. One of the most important part of the success of this team is exactly that. Have fun, work hard, and promote togetherness as a group.
Wozny praised the coaches as “committed and dedicated to the culture of the team.”
On Sunday, April 23, the Hockey Canada national club championship for women, the Esso Cup national trophy, gets underway in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, with six teams playing at the Art Hauser Centre.
The championship game, which will be broadcast by TSN, will take place on Sunday, Apr. 29.
Have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.