Lacoka’s Bantam hockey girls have had a year to remember.
The team solidified its league win against Leduc Thursday, March 24 in Lacombe securing not one, not two, but three banners for the 2015-16 season, said coach Tim Falkiner.
Lacoka won the zone banner plus the provincials banner recently and now the league banner in Lacombe, something that will have team members talking for years down the road. The team won the best of three series 2-1 after losing the first game on March 15 and then taking the next two.
Looking back at the start of the season Falkiner suggests confidence was the biggest area coaches and parents looked at.
“The biggest focus was we had a couple of girls that wouldn’t say ‘boo’ in the dressing room,” he explained.
Work from team manager Lara Fodor and other parents to build strong team unity was a large factor in the team performing well, he suggested.
Building the team unity started with positive activities such as taking part in the Santa’s Anonymous campaign. The team bought presents and wrapped them up in Christmastime and rather than buy presents for each other, everyone involved decided it would be better to sponsor a family in Wetaskiwin.
And it helped. The girls had a record of 27-2-3 in league and provincials play and team unity was strong. “The parents responded. The kids responded. It was amazing,” said Falkiner.
Further to that coaches worked closely with players.
“You have to listen to your kids. You have to teach them life lessons along the way as well and you have to have fun,” said Falkiner.
As for next season, Falkiner said he will take some much-needed time off to consider coaching.
With the team including players from Lacombe and Ponoka Falkiner believes parents are buying a second set of banners so each town can hoist them in their arenas. He suggests this will be a proud moment for the Lacoka team.
“That’s something the kids will be able to look at and point to for the rest of their lives,” he said.
He thanked parents and coaches for their dedication to the team this season.