Photo by Chung Chow
Like the Richmond Jets, Veer Sadana may be just starting to realize his potential.
Following his team’s decisive 6-1 win over Portland Junior Winter Hawks Dec. 31, in which Sadana was in on three of the goals to complete the Richmond International Bantam Midget Hockey Tournament with a team-best six assists and nine points, his athletic talent is clear. Trouble is, Sadana is also an accomplished wrestler, one of the top up-and-comers in his age group in the province.
But for now, at least, Sadana is successfully juggling both sports. And after helping the Jets secure the Bantam Tier 2 title, he will continue to play an important role in what coach Glenn Wheeler is hoping will be a steady climb up the league standings.
“We were pleasantly surprised by our success, as there were a lot of good teams (in the tournament),” Sadana said. “Some of these teams play a flight above us, but our team played really well. Our goalies were outstanding and our defence was solid.”
Sadana said the Jets’ confidence got a big boost after they were able to defeat Surrey 2-1 in overtime in the semifinal. Over seven games, they finished with a record of 5-0-2 and outscored their opponents 20-9.
“Our coaches told us that we were better than any team in the tournament, if we played to our potential,” Sadana said. “As forwards, we were told to forecheck and focus on speed and passing. We played to our strengths and were happy with the outcome.”
Richmond began tournament play with a 4-2 win over Surrey Thunder’s A2 team on Boxing Day and then blanked Peninsula Eagles 2-0 the following day. They then scored a 3-2 win over Alaska Oilers, tied Portland 1-1 and topped Cowichan Valley Capitals 2-0.
Richmond Jets Midget A1s hoped to fair equally well in the tournament, but the bounces simply didn’t go their way. A narrow 5-4 overtime loss to league rival Burnaby in quarter-final play Dec. 30 ended their run; the winning goal, an unassisted effort by Aaron Mak, scored with under a second to play in the first extra period. The game was a see-saw affair that saw the lead change hands five times. Brice Kemp was in on three of four Richmond goals.
Ethan Strik paced Richmond with six goals and 12 points as the Jets won three of five games—8-3 over South Delta Storm, 8-0 over Surrey Thunder and 6-0 over North Central Bobcats. In between, they lost 5-3 to a very disciplined and balanced Alaska Wolves U18 team that appeared to be cruising to the final before being derailed 5-2 by Portland Winter Hawks in semifinal action. Seattle Sno-Kings U16 proved to be the class of the tournament, going 7-0 and outscoring their opponents 46-7, capped by convincing 7-0 win over Portland in the championship game. Trevor Loucks, Stirling Nash and Chase Ojala each had a goal and two assists for the winners.
Richmond Jets A2 Midgets went 2-2-1 in the tournament, eliminated in quarter-final play by the Arctic Lions U16 team 3-2. Jora Bains had six points over two games.
Richmond Bantam Tier 3 team finished 1-3-1, with an even 14-14 in goals for and against. Koen Brusse led the way in each offensive category with three goals and two assists for five points.
Richmond lost 3-2 tin overtime to North Delta Bantam A2 in their final game.