With a 6-1 triumph over Woodland, Saskatoon Tribal Council took home the final gold medal of the 2014 Saskatchewan First Nations Winter Games on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre. Saskatoon was undefeated in the tournament, beating Southeast, Beardy's and Onion Lake en route to their final showdown with Woodland to take the gold. Herald photo by Andrew Schopp
A pair of quick second period goals lifted Saskatoon Tribal Council to gold in 2014 Saskatchewan First Nations Winter Games midget hockey action on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre.
Squaring off against Woodland in the midget tournament final, Saskatoon got on the board five minutes into the second period, followed by the game-winner on a breakaway about a minute later to clinch a 6-1 triumph.
Saskatoon bench-boss Dalyn Bear was thrilled to finally strike gold after previously coaching peewee and bantam teams at the games as he worked his way up the ladder to the midget ranks.
‚ÄúIt was a great win for our team,‚ÄĚ Bear said of Friday‚Äôs triumph. ‚ÄúWe came from across the province to be together as a team and we finally took the gold.‚ÄĚ
The Saskatoon team was comprised of midget level players from seven Tribal Council member First Nations, including Bear‚Äôs home of Whitecap Dakota First Nation.
En route to Friday‚Äôs final, Saskatoon blasted through Southeast, Beardy‚Äôs and finally Onion Lake to make it to the gold medal game.
Their opponent‚Äôs path to the final however, was slightly more treacherous.
After a 3-1 loss to Onion Lake had them relegated from Pool A, Woodland was forced to battle through five teams in the losers bracket to claw back into the final.
Bear said he was pleased with his team‚Äôs ability to hang on with Woodland, who entered the final riding the momentum of a lengthy win-streak.
‚ÄúThey had a long route coming to the finals,‚ÄĚ Bear said of Woodland. ‚ÄúThey played three times today, it was a good showing and I‚Äôm pretty proud of my boys.‚ÄĚ
While aboriginal players of varying skill levels participated in the tournament, Bear said that it was great to see a mixed bag of talent come together as a team to represent their First Nation.
‚ÄúAll the boys are proud of their tribal councils,‚ÄĚ he explained of players setting their club colours aside to skate for their First Nation. ‚ÄúEveryone wants to represent where they are from and they want to stand strong and proud.‚ÄĚ
The midget hockey tournament was the final competition of the games, which concluded with closing ceremonies immediately following Saskatoon‚Äôs tilt with Woodland at the Art Hauser Centre.