The Mission Stars fell just short of the home-ice championship they were dreaming of at the recent B.C. Tier 2 bantam hockey provincials.
But the experience was one the boys won't soon forget.
The host Stars went undefeated during pool play, beating Vanderhoof (7-5), Abbotsford (5-4), Williams Lake (7-3) and Fort St. John (5-2).
But after enduring several relentlessly physical games, injury issues hampered Mission in the playoffs – they fell 5-3 to North Shore Winter Club in the semis, then dropped a 4-2 decision in a rematch with Williams Lake in the bronze medal game.
"We just ran out of gas," Stars coach Chane Thomas said. "We weren't 100 per cent, and it kind of takes the wind out of you."
Hosting the 10-team tourney was a feather in the cap of the Mission Minor Hockey Association, and Thomas said opposing coaches offered overwhelmingly positive feedback.
The Stars were thrilled to receive tremendous fan support from the community – they were cheered on by great crowds at the Mission Leisure Centre.
"Having coached in other associations over the years, I've never seen that kind of support come out for a minor hockey team," Thomas said.