Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault has no NHL players to mentor these days, but he did get to impart his wisdom on the Blackcomb Killer Bees of the Whistler Women’s Hockey League this past weekend instead.
The Killer Bees won a contest that put them on the ice at Rogers Arena with the Jack Adams Award winner and other members of the Canucks’ coaching staff on Sunday (Nov. 18) for a practice.
“The girls were ecstatic,” said Jocelyn Jones, who put her team’s name into the contest and was one of 15 players who got to skate at the big rink.
Vigneault and his assistants put the Killer Bees through skating and puck-control drills alongside another women’s team from Coquitlam, and Jones said the instruction was welcomed.
“We’ve never had a team practice,” she laughed.. “It was a great experience. The coaches were all awesome … (Vigneault) was a treat. He was all smiles, but he gave us a hard time because we wore Boston Bruins colours.”
The contest was open to any registered senior or minor hockey team in B.C., with the NHL coaches running practices for winning teams all day Sunday. Jones said her brother sent her the contest details and suggested she enter the Killer Bees. A couple of days later, the Canucks came calling to invite the Whistler team down for the skate.
“I don’t know how many teams entered, but I’m sure it was lots,” said Jones, who joked that the team will be looking to “pick it up a notch” when getting back to league games Thursday (Nov. 22).
While learning from top-level coaches provided one thrill, the experience of being on the Canucks home sheet of ice was another for the Killer Bees.
“It would be pretty inspiring seeing that place full,” said Jones. “They gave us a tour of the place after, took us up to the very top to the media centre, where you see the ice from a bird’s eye view. It was awesome; they did a great job at Rogers Arena.”
Saints march on
The Whistler Saints flag football squad advanced to the North Shore Football League championship game with a 6-0 semifinal triumph over the North Vancouver 49ers on Sunday (Nov. 18). Benyon McKeen had the only touchdown in the Whistler win, putting his team through to Sunday’s (Nov. 25) final against the Seahawks at Confederation Park in North Vancouver.
The Peewee Sea to Sky Titans team came up on the wrong end of their semifinal and were knocked out of the playoffs, falling 18-6 to the 49ers. Adam Klimchuk-Brown scored for the Titans in the loss.
Spud Valley ski sign-up online
The Spud Valley Nordics have launched online registration for the club’s Jackrabbit youth program, with sessions scheduled to begin on Dec. 3.
The Pemberton-based program is for skiers aged 5 to 13, meeting Mondays at 3:15 p.m. at the Nairn Falls Campground. Registration costs $65 per child for the season and is open at www.zone4.ca until Nov. 30. Fees include entry into local races and other special events, plus registration and insurance with Cross Country B.C.
The club is also looking for adult volunteers to work as coach assistants and ski with groups each Monday. Contact Delores Los at email@example.com if interested.
A Jackrabbit info meeting is scheduled for Monday (Nov. 26) at the Pemberton Community Centre between 5 and 6 p.m., when parents can learn more about equipment needs and other program details.
Visit www.spudvalleynordics.com for more information.