The East Wheatland Athletic Association (EWAA) Coyotes U11 hockey team recently won their first-ever banner, taking home the Central Alberta Hockey League (CAHL) Tier 4 yellow group championship.
Coyotes Head Coach Ty Corbiell said the best of three series against Black Diamond started off with a bang, as the game went to triple overtime and the Coyotes scored with just 1 minute left before it would've gone to a shootout.
"It was quite exciting, our team was pretty pumped. We really played well as a team and it was a pretty exciting victory. The crowd was big and they were super excited, especially having played into overtime like that," he said.
Following that nail-biter of a finish the Coyotes had a much more comfortable win the following day, winning by 2 goals and earning the banner. During the regular season Black Diamond was the only team to beat the Coyotes, and they did it twice, so Corbiell said flipping the script in the finals made the win even sweeter.
"It was maybe even a little intimidating (playing Black Diamond), thinking, 'hey, this team has beat us before,' but we played very well and we were on our game."
Corbiell explained the CAHL is divided into several different colours, so the CAHL Tier 4 yellow group featured the Coyotes, Cochrane, Black Diamond, Foothills, Strathmore, Airdrie, and more. Now that the Coyotes are the yellow champions, they're currently engaged in a tournament with the winners of all the colour groups to take home the CAHL league championship.
As for the EWAA itself, this new league started several years ago, when Gleichen, Standard, and Hussar came together and amalgamated their leagues into this one team. Not only is this banner win the first for the team since they formed, it's also the first banner win any of these teams have had for around a decade, so Corbiell said it's been long overdue to get a championship for their communities.
The Coyotes had an exceptional season, which Corbiell said was because of the commitment the team showed to the sport, as well as the entire staff supporting the team and working together.
"The players, they just had a lot of determination and drive this year. Great attitudes and really coachable players and then also a great coaching and management team, it wasn't just myself. The other coaches were Kyle Crump and Craig Nelson and our manager Nick Phillips, we all contribute, it's not one just coach that makes a difference here, it's all three coaches and the manager."
To stay up to date with the Coyotes and their quest for another banner, you can visit their Facebook page here.
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