When it comes to producing medals at the national level, Canadian Ball Hockey Association president Steve Power, who hails from St. John’s, argues ball hockey is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most decorated sports.
The Black Horse men’s ‘A’ squad will be chasing another medal this week at the national men’s and women’s ‘A’, and masters ball hockey championships that open Tuesday at The Glacier in Mount Pearl, and the Goulds Arena.
Metro St. John’s last played host to the nationals in 2010, when Black Horse won gold. In the nine years since then, teams have won seven medals in men’s ‘A’.
Included is a run of five medals in the past five years — three silver and two bronze medals.
Black Horse and the host Newfoundland squad hope to keep the streak alive this week in the nine-team senior ‘A’ men’s championship.
Black Horse reached the final last year in Winnipeg before being dispatched by the Edmonton Savages, in St. John’s to defend their title.
At the recent junior national championships in Coquitlam, B.C., Newfoundland teams won two silver medals and a bronze.
In women’s ‘A’ play, odds are in Newfoundland’s favour for a medal as this province has two teams — NL United and the host squad — entered in the five-team affair.
Three Newfoundland players on the United squad — Dawn Tulk, Kristen Cooze and April Drake — helped Canada win gold medal at the world women’s championship held recently in Slovakia. Power was the team’s coach.
As for the masters (40-plus) men’s national championship, two Newfoundland teams — NL Colonials and NL Cabots — are among the eight competing.
The Black Horse and NL United teams are basically all-star teams, pieced together for nationals. The Host teams are comprised of remaining players who participated in provincials.
A masters championship has added incentive in that the winner will play in the world championship next year in the Czech Republic. The Team Canada roster will be selected from players on the seven remaining teams.
Playoffs in each of the three tournaments open Friday, with gold-medal games slated for Saturday.