CIHA SQUAD FOR CANADA GAMES
ROCKLAND | It’s not listed as an official team but there will be a strong Rockland presence of sorts on the other side of the country during the official opening of the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C. For sure, the name of the local hockey academy may get bandied about a fair bit during the hockey matches taking place during the Games.
Staff and students at the Canadian International Hockey Academy (CIHA) may soon be finding excuses to cut classes to watch the Games on TV or wifi links. Six CIHA students earned themselves berths on the hockey teams of their home provinces for this year’s Winter Games.
“It just shows the work we’re doing,” said Guy Girouard, CIHA director of hockey. “We are getting better (results) every year. We’re looking forward to seeing them play.”
Playing for Nova Scotia are Autumn MacDougall and Bobbi Strople while Maddy Koughan rounds out the CIHA’s contribution to women’s hockey at the Games as she picks up the stick for Prince Edward Island. Fellow Islander Brechan MacLean is playing on the men’s team while Matthew Grouchy will help his brother players from Newfoundland-Labrador on the ice. Joining the Ontario team is Gabe Vilardi.
“I was definitely honoured,” said MacDougall, regarding making the Nova Scotia team. “It’s definitely a lifetime opportunity.”
“I’ve been working for this since I started playing,” said Strople, whose father captained Nova Scotia’s hockey and lacrosse teams when he competed in past Canada Games. “It’s always been a dream of mine.”
“I was ecstatic,” said Koughan. “This has been my goal since I started playing. It’s a huge honour.”
The three CIHA contributions to the men’s teams at the Games were a bit more laconic in their replies.
“Pretty good,” said MacLean. “Never been to B.C. before.” “Pretty accomplished,” said Grouchy. “Feels good,” said Vilardi.
They had more to say when asked whether they might have any problems playing against a fellow CIHA student if the Games play schedule matched Ontario, PEI, and Newfoundland/Labrador against each other.
“I’ll do anything to help my team win,” said Grouchy.
“If I play (against) Grouchy,” said MacLean, grinning, “we’re definitely going to blow them out.”
“He (MacLean) has to keep his head up in the neutral zone,” said Vilardi.
The ladies also saw no problem with a showdown session between Nova Scotia and PEI at the Games.
“Yeah,” said MacDougall, recalling the match at the Atlantic Challenge Cup. “We beat them (PEI) before.”
“We did pretty good against them,” said Strople about Nova Scotia’s chances against the Islanders. “So it shouldn’t be any problem.”
Koughan doesn’t think her team’s players will have any trouble when push comes to shove on the ice against their fellow Maritimers.
“They (Nova Scotia) got lucky at the ACC,” she said. “It was a really close and they (Nova Scotia) got a lucky bounce. We should have won.”
The Canada Winter Games are February 13 to March 1 in Prince George, B.C. Games scheduling and other details are at www. canadagames2015.ca.
The Canadian International Hockey Academy will have good representation at this year’s Canada Winter Games. Six of its students have earned berths on their home province hockey teams playing in the Games in Prince George next month.