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Team BC for Aboriginal Hockey Nationals includes 3 with Cowichan Valley ties

Alexandra Nelso, Wyatt Blace, and Jacob Wingfield made the cut
Jacob Wingfield and the Kerry Park Islanders sit second in the South Division of the VIJH after 15 games. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen) Jacob Wingfield will attend his second-straight NAHC. He won bronze with Team BC last year in Winnipeg. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Three young hockey players with ties to the Cowichan Valley have been named to their respective Team BC rosters for the 2024 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships next month.

The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council held a player selection camp in Prince George April 5-7 and from that camp of 150 participants, 20 players were selected for each of the men’s and women’s teams.

Included on the women’s roster is goalie Alexandra Nelso, a proud member of the Snuneymuxw (Nanaimo) First Nation. She plays her hockey with Shawnigan Lake School’s U18 female prep team.

Forwards Wyatt Blace, of Crofton, and Jacob Wingfield of Halfmoon Bay also made the cut, but for the men’s side. Blace is of Squamish Nation heritage and suited up last season with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL while Wingfield, a member of the Métis Nation, was a key leader in the Kerry Park Islanders’ playoff run in the VIJHL this past season.

Blace has committed to play NCAA Div. 1 hockey at Dartmouth upon completion of his junior hockey career.

This will be both Blace and Wingfield’s second-straight NAHC as they won bronze with Team BC last year in Winnipeg.

Noelani Avveduti, a Cree from the Alexander First Nation, will join the men’s team as a trainer. She’s the head athletic therapist at Shawnigan Lake School.

These players will not only represent B.C., but they will also proudly represent their Indigenous Nations and communities at this prestigious national championship, said I·SPARC.

“This year’s three-day Provincial Selection Camp was one of the highest attended camps in the program’s history, which demonstrates the growth of Indigenous participation in hockey throughout the province,” said Rick Brant, CEO of I·SPARC.

“It is with great pride that we announce the final rosters of our two teams, as we prepare for our journey to Grande Prairie. We hope all the players and personnel will build lasting friendships and memories from their time in Alberta.”

The first time the event will be held in Alberta, the championship tournament will be hosted on Treaty 8 territory in Grande Prairie May 5-11.