Cankovic named team's rookie of the year 

sports briefs: WMSC U14 racers earn provincial title, Avalanche take pioneer cup, storm to provincials

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BOB MARSH - tom is tops Thomas Cankovic was named the Princeton Posse's top rookie last month.
  • Photo by Bob Marsh
  • tom is tops Thomas Cankovic was named the Princeton Posse's top rookie last month.

Whistler hockey player Thomas Cankovic had a strong first season with the Princeton Posse.

The 17-year-old forward impressed Posse brass so much that they named him the squad's rookie of the year. Cankovic tallied 11 goals and 19 assists in 50 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League regular season games to lead all of the team's freshmen in scoring.

He then posted two assists in the playoffs, but the Posse petered out in five games against the Okanagan Division champion Osoyoos Coyotes.

WMSC takes U14 provincial title

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) powered its way to the overall title at the U14 Teck Provincial Championships at SilverStar Mountain Resort over the weekend.

WMSC scored 105.98 to edge out Apex Ski Club (110.14) for the honour.

Individual skiers posted excellent results to make up the score.

Maja Woolley led the way for WMSC, picking up the club's lone gold of the event on Feb. 28 by winning the ladies' slalom with a time of 48.59 seconds to edge out teammate Chloe Arrigoni's 49.51. Woolley also won silver in another slalom event while earning a silver and bronze in two separate giant slaloms. She also posted two fourth-place finishes.

Nathan Romanin, meanwhile, picked up a trio of silvers, two in the slalom and one in the giant slalom. Ethan Shandro had a giant slalom silver. Eric Smith, meanwhile, took home a bronze in the first giant slalom race and Tait Jordan did just the same in the second.

Other WMSC athletes hitting the top 10 at the event were: Arabella Ng, Adelaide Tiller, Skylar Beauregard and Gigi Kranjc.

Full results are available at www.bcalpine.com.

Iles, Horvath to meet Welsh, Grills

Whistler's contingent of players in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League will take to the ice in second round action beginning March 6.

Tyler Welsh and Ryan Grills of the North Division champion Campbell River Storm will host underdogs Comox Valley Glacier Kings, who feature Grant Iles and Jonas Horvath.

Campbell River ran away with the division after posting 83 points (39-4-5) while Comox Valley was a distant second with 52 points (23-19-6). Campbell River dispatched the also-ran Oceanside Generals in a four-game sweep, while Comox Valley got by the Nanaimo Buccaneers in five games.

Welsh led all VIJHL rookies in scoring with 17 goals and 58 assists in 48 games, placing fourth on the team and seventh overall in the league. Similar results haven't been there in the playoffs, though, as he notched just a pair of assists thus far. Grills, meanwhile, was held off the scoresheet in his lone postseason contest to this point.

The Glacier Kings' Whistlerites have come up big. Iles is tied for the team lead in playoff scoring after tallying seven points in the first round while Horvath has chipped in a goal and two assists. Iles had 35 regular season points and Horvath 17. The Glacier Kings are coached by former Whistler Minor Hockey Association bench boss Joey Ewing.

The winner of the series will face the South Division champion, which will either be the league-leading Victoria Cougars or the No. 2 Westshore Wolves, for the Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy. The Cougars have won the past three championships.

Grade 8 girls off to provincials; boys win Sea to Sky

The Whistler Secondary School (WSS) Storm basketball team will head to Pitt Meadows this weekend to try to claim a slot as tops in the province.

WSS played four games in as many days at the Vancouver and District Championships, a wildcard berth earned by virtue of their third-place finish in the North Shore Premier League.

The Storm went 3-1 in the face of the staunch challenge, winning the play-in game with a decisive victory over Richmond's Hugh McRoberts Strikers and edging Burnaby South Rebels before falling to the eventual champion St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints. In the third-place game for the final provincial wildcard spot, the Storm tamed the McMath Wildcats of Richmond, with Ayden Kristmanson leading with 16 points and Jenna Tobias contributing 12.

Head coach Alan Kristmanson also lauded the defence of Pietra Kamstra and Hannah L'Estrange.

"It was our best game of the season by far," he said in an email.

The Grade 8 Invitational Provincial Championships will run from March 5 to 7. In their inaugural tournament berth, the Storm will open against Abbotsford's William A. Fraser Falcons.

The Grade 8 girls, Grade 8 boys and Grade 9 girls all won their respective Sea to Sky championships last week, while the Grade 9 boys were the runners-up.

Avalanche win Pioneer Cup

The U15 Whistler Avalanche boys' team scored a major victory on March 1.

The club, which has been through a tumultuous year getting a team together, emerged with a 2-1 win over the VUFC 2000 Celtics in the Four District League's Gold 2 Pioneer Cup finals at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex.

Najib Chamlati put Whistler up with a successful penalty kick early and received credit for the second goal, which caromed off a Celtic into the net.

The Celtics halved the lead in the second half, but Whistler withstood the late charge to come away with the win.

Tsubota takes bronze

Yuki Tsubota is back.

The Whistler resident battled a tough set of circumstances to score bronze in women's slopestyle at the Association of Freeskiing Professionals stop in La Clusaz, France on March 3.

Facing poor weather, organizers decided to merge the qualifiers and finals into the same day, but Tsubota battled through to post a score of 80.8 to take third. Estonian Kelly Sildary, 13, won the title with a score of 87.4.

"Due to the bad weather we were told last night that finals would be moved to today," Tsubota said in a release. "We had to change our game plan and there was obviously a lot of pressure there.

"We didn't even get to have too many practice jumps. Knowing what the course conditions would be, I decided to use one of my backup runs when I saw the course. I was happy to be able to pull it off and have a clean run. I'm thrilled with my result because it's been a really long time since I've been on the podium."

Alex Bellemare of Saint-Boniface, Que. won bronze on the men's side.

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