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Jasper U13 Bears hit the ice skating

Jasper U13 (Peewee) Bears played two games against the Mayerthorpe Mustangs at the weekend.  | Supplied photo

David Miller and Lesleigh Campbell  | Special to the Fitzhugh

After seven long months of not being on the ice, Jaspers Bears hockey is finally back.

Since Jasper’s hockey arena has been delayed, all of the Jasper teams have been put behind the 8 ball to start this crazy COVID season. 

The under 13 Bears (formally known as the Peewee Bears) are about six weeks behind most other teams in its league when it comes to ice time. Luckily, we have Hinton down the road with two fully functioning rinks and for the month of October we managed to grab a couple hours of ice time every Saturday to practice

But the bigger kick in the pants to the teams from the rink delay is that they have to play their home games away. The means driving up to 900-kilometre round trip, renting the ice, lining up refs and being in charge of the scoreboard and music, it’s a logistical nightmare and is costing parents a lot more money to play hockey this year.

Fingers crossed that the Dec. 1 date that was promised by town council and the municipality holds true and the rink finally gets open. 

Although based on past history, Vegas has the opening date odds for Dec. 1 at 4-1 and even money is being offered for a January 2021 opening.

Enough about the rink, let’s get to the new and improved U13 bears.

To start the season there were questions if we were going to even have a team as the enrolment was low this year. Some kids decided to ski, some just didn’t want to play anymore and we even lost one player when she decided to take her talents to Whitecourt.

It didn’t look good at first but then we struck lightning in a bottle.

Since we were short on players and the U15 Bears only had three players signed up to play, we were allowed to let the three U15 players play on the U13 team, giving us three lines, four defensive and a goalie. 

The best part of the over-age kids is their skill set. Adding these three players is like adding a Crosby, a McDavid and a McKinnon to a team. We are stacked and an A provincial Championship is in our sights. 

Jasper travelled to Mayerthorpe for two games at the weekend, one away game on Saturday and one home game on Sunday. 

And if the season goes like it did on the weekend, you’re going to be seeing some a few banner hanging in the rafters at the end of the season.

To say that the Jasper Peewee Bears have been eager to play their first game of the season would be an understatement.  The way last season came to an abrupt halt has left these Bears hungrier than ever before.  

With no sign of going into hibernation anytime soon, they made their way to Mayerthorpe for games one and two of tiering.  

The Mayerthorpe Mustangs were chomping at the bit to finally have an opponent on their home ice again.  In fact, in the first period of Saturday’s game, you could clearly see the excitement in each and every player on the ice.  

Supplied photo

For the first 10 minutes of the game, the teams were going back and forth, shot for shot looking evenly matched.  It wasn’t until around that time that one of the Mustangs broke loose and scored the first goal of the game on a shorthanded breakaway.  Less than one minute later, the Bears tied it up when Drew Kovacs sniped the puck past the Mustangs’ tendy.  Jackson Irwin and Morgan Thomas got the helpers on that goal, ending the first period tied 1-1.

Now, I don’t know what coach Alex Derksen said to those Bears between periods, but they came out a different team in the second. Thomas set out to break the tie – and break the tie he did, scoring almost as soon as his skates hit the ice.  Kovacs and Carson Campbell helped him out on that one, and then a few minutes later, deja-vu.  Only this time it was Kovacs and Callum Campbell with the assists on Thomas’ goal. 

Four minutes later, Georgia Bell found the back of the net for the Bears’ fourth goal of the game, off a pass from Austin Schmidt.  Not long after that, Irwin sniped another one, with Kovacs and Car. Campbell getting the helpers.  Cal. Campbell finished off the second period by scoring the Bears’ sixth goal of the game, Schmidt with the assist.  

Supplied photo

If you think that five unanswered goals in the second period was impressive, then you won’t even believe what happened next.

Cal. Campbell opened up the scoring in the third period, followed by Thomas getting his hat trick goal, assisted by Car. Campbell and Irwin.  Then Kovacs scored back-to-back goals, getting himself a hat-trick. Thomas got one more, with Kovacs and Dustin Derksen getting the helpers and the last goal of the game was scored by Irwin off a pass from Casey Peel.  

Goaltender Brady Campbell kept the door shut after that first period goal and ended up making 18 saves by the end of the game.  Which is not what one would have expected before the game started, when B. Campbell realized two minutes before going on the ice that he had forgotten his glove in Jasper.  

Lucky for him, the Mayerthorpe arena had an extra goalie glove.  But I digress, the Bears won this blowout game 12-1.  

Sunday’s rematch was almost a carbon copy of the previous day.  

This time, Thomas opened up the scoring in the first period, scoring off a pass from Cal. Campbell.  Soon after that, Kovacs sent the puck flying past the Mustangs’ goalie with some help from Thomas and Irwin.  

A few minutes later, Thomas scored again off a pass from Kovacs, and then right away Kovacs scored another,  Thomas and Cal. Campbell with the helpers. The first period ended with four unanswered goals.  

The second period started off with a hat trick goal from Thomas, assisted by Cal.Campbell and Louis Campeau.  Cal. Campbell then sniped another goal of his own followed by Kovacs getting his hattrick goal.  

Cal. Campbell then scored another one with Irwin getting the helper.  

And squeaking one last goal of the period in, was Carson Miller with :25 left on the clock.  

Supplied photo

Starting the third period off 9-0 Car. Campbell added another point to the Bears’ board with some help from Thomas and Derksen.  

And getting the last Bears goal of the game which also completed his hattrick, was Cal. Campbell, assisted by Schmidt and Derksen.  

The game was down to the final six minutes with a score of 11-0 for Jasper, but Mayerthorpe was able to come up with two quick goals, ending the game 11-2.  Goaltender B. Campbell made 24 saves in what was almost a shutout until the last few minutes of the game.  

The main objective of these preseason tiering games is to see what level each team should play at for the season.  

I think it’s safe to say that the Jasper PeeWee Bears won’t be travelling to Mayerthorpe again anytime soon.  But I guess we have to wait and see.

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