Cowichan Secondary senior boys hockey team captain Mike Arscott (left) and teammate Matteo Iorio (14) combine to score against Shawnigan Lake School during the School Spirit Game at the Island Savings Centre on Dec. 18. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

High school hockey scores in the Cowichan Valley

Cow High program growing rapidly

Cowichan Secondary is at the middle of a surge in popularity of high school hockey in the Cowichan Valley.

According to Mike Moroz, who leads the ice hockey program at Cow High, about 100 kids are involved this year, up from around 64 last year.

“We’re so thrilled to see the growth of the program,” he said. “We’re really impressed with the way the players and their families have taken to the idea of high school hockey. We’re hearing from families how much of a difference it seems to be making for their other hockey because they’re getting more ice and more focus time. That’s pretty gratifying.”

Cow High has junior and senior boys teams and one girls team this year, mostly playing against other teams from across the Cowichan Valley. The senior boys take on competition from Shawnigan Lake School, Brentwood College School, Lake Cowichan School and Frances Kelsey Secondary. Organizers have been talking to schools up and down the Island about adding games before the season is over.

The Cowichan Secondary girls play most of their games against a combined team from Shawnigan and Brentwood — separate from Shawnigan’s prep team — which was originally put together for the Ross Cup tournament last year. The girls had hoped to compete in an Island-wide league this year, but that hasn’t yet come to fruition. It has been slower to develop than organizers would have liked, Moroz admitted, but progress is being made, with interest from the Cowichan Valley north to Tri-Port.

Because the Cow High girls team is sanctioned by BC Hockey, they are able to play games against other teams, a luxury that not all high school teams can boast. In late January and early February, the Thunderbirds will take part in WickFest, the massive female hockey tournament created by Hayley Wickenheiser. Originally based in Calgary, the tournament has expanded to Surrey, making it much easier for the Cowichan team to attend.

Cow High attempted to take part in the tournament in Calgary last year, but didn’t get BC Hockey accreditation in time. They jumped on the chance when the second WickFest was added in Surrey.

“For some of these girls, they’ve been planning and talking about it for two years,” Moroz noted. “This is exciting.”

There are 18 girls on the Cow High team, joined by a junior feeder program with about a dozen players from atom to bantam who attend morning practices with the older players.

“The thought is that when they get to Cowichan Secondary, they’ll be used to first-thing-in-the-morning practices and our program,” Moroz explained. “It’s been a terrific add-on.

“The players are so enthusiastic. There are some terrific female teams in the Cowichan Valley. It’s nice to get a variety of girls from all the age groups, and they get additional development through the high school program.”

After Christmas break, all three Cow High teams will get right back into action. In addition to WickFest for the girls team, all three T-Birds teams will take part in the 20th annual Ross Cup tournament hosted by Brentwood.

Team members include both house and rep players. There are about six rep players on the senior boys team and three or four on the junior team, Moroz estimated. In some cases, players played minor hockey together at the younger levels, but have been split up as they climbed the ranks. This is their first opportunity to skate together in many years.

“It’s nice for them to be able to represent the school and be able to play together again,” Moroz commented.

Moroz expressed his gratitude to the many community members, organizations and businesses that have helped keep the hockey program going.

“This would be impossible to do without the volunteer coaches and community partners, without breaking the back for families,” he said. “It allows us to keep the costs reasonable.

“Hockey is an awesome game, but if it’s not accessible to families, we all lose.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Gran’pa grew it, says young Stephen Nahirnick as he maintains a tight grip on one of Steve Nahirnick’s Hallowe’en pumpkins. Stephen is son of Jack and Joan Nahirnick and he took the opportunity last week to enjoy splendid autumn weather while perched on grandfather’s knee while the elder Nahirnick was harvesting luxuriant and large garden.’ (Lake News/Oct. 22, 1980)
Flashback: Halloween night full of activities, crime

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Cowichan Valley riding being called for Sonia Furstenau; Nanaimo-North Cowichan for Doug Routley

It’s officially Election Day in B.C.’s 2020 provincial snap election and the… Continue reading

Tanya Kaul, the Liberal candidate for Cowichan Valley, waves with her team on election night. (Submitted photo)
Kaul energized to run again for the Liberals in 4 years

“I have a team already in place so we’ll be ready.”

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read