As the Peninsula Panthers prepared for the third period of their last outing Sunday at the Cyclone Taylor Cup in Delta, the bronze medal game against the Revelstoke Grizzlies, they had a visitor in their locker room.
They are Darcie Colegrave, the mother of teammate Grant Gilbertson, who died on January 3 in a car accident on his way to training at North Saanich from Sooke.
Colegrave used her visit, at the impromptu invitation of team owner and general manager Pete Zubersky, to tell the players how proud she was of them.
As such, his physical presence was a reminder that an irreplaceable loss had preceded the Panthers’ championship season in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, a loss that survived whatever was happening within the narrow confines of the Panthers. a hockey rink.
“We all knew Grant Gilbertson and his family were bigger than the game,” Zubersky said.
This broader perspective also ran through his assessment of the entire tournament, which determined the top Junior B team in the province. The Panthers finished fourth with a 3-2 loss after allowing a late goal to Kootenay International League champion Revelstoke – just over 12 hours after the Grizzlies beat Peninsula 2-1 in a shootout which lasted an incredible 12 rounds on Saturday.
The Panthers opened Thursday with a 6-2 loss to eventual champion Langley Trappers, who took a 4-0 lead in just over 10 minutes. On Friday, the Panthers lost 8-7 to host Delta Ice Hawks in a game that saw six goals scored in the first period and seven in the third.
Zubersky said the Panthers could have won the tournament, even though they only suffered one shootout loss in all four games.
“The other three teams were really great; I thought we were too,” he said. “But the rebounds didn’t work for us and we left the tournament on Sunday showing nothing but experience. But strangely there was no negativity around our players, coaches, organization or our parent group. There was a hint of disappointment as we all thought that with a rebound here or there it could have been a much different outcome, but no negativity. I’ve been in the game for a long time and I’ve never seen such a fantastic collective attitude.
The Panthers were expected to enjoy “80 minutes of stress-free pond hockey” on Tuesday night, before giving away their game jerseys to 20-year-old graduates Riley Braun, Logan Speirs, Denver Maloney, Sterling Lyon, Kyle Brown and Brandon Pascoe.
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