After a colourful Junior B hockey season, the Rockies roster was rewarded with a year-end celebration at Copper Point Resort with their families, billet host families, volunteers and Columbia Valley Rockies board members.
A group of 85 people from the Columbia Valley attended the banquet in the Quartz Grand Hall at Copper Point Resort in Invermere on Friday, March 4th to enjoy supper and a presentation of awards.
But most of all the Columbia Valley Rockies team and their biggest supporters came to bid one another farewell to mark the close of another great season.
“There are two groups of people here tonight who we really want to recognize and we’re hoping you could recognize them as well,” said Graeme Anderson, Columbia Valley Rockies director of hockey operations and president, to the attending crowd at the resort while working his magic as the emcee.
“One is the billet hosts, and not all of them are here tonight, but obviously without you guys who look after our players from out of town — we greatly appreciate what you do for the players as do their parents. The other group we want to say thank you to are the players’ parents themselves because we know you guys have a choice as to where you or your son goes to play — and obviously we’re very pleased in particular with this group, that a lot of you chose to send your kids here. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege having them — it’s a particularly special group.”
People applauded the team’s outstanding performance and enjoyed roast beef or rosemary chicken suppers before indulging in a special cake that featured a fondant decoration depicting the Rockies’ head coach, Wade Dubielewicz and some of his Junior B team.
After the meal, Anderson presented $500 bursaries to each graduating athlete to help them pursue their next steps in life, distributing the white envelopes on stage to Doan Smith, Nigel Swab, Kellen Marchand and Damon Raven.
In addition, Raven was congratulated for playing his 200th game as a Columbia Valley Rocky this season before a review of the Junior B season was shown to the audience in a short video.
“To me, this was a really successful year,” said Dubielewicz. “It may not have ended the way we all wanted, but if you think of the process and the marathon of hockey season, along with how many good things and how many special things happened on and off the ice — whether that be individual accolades or getting a new bus with a lot of fundraising that took place over the last couple of years — it was probably the most successful year that we’ve had as an organization in a long, long time so with that in mind, I think the future looks really bright for this organization and this team.”
He credited the core group of volunteers for hosting events such as the Classic Car Draw, Bull Riding in the Rockies, the annual Rockies’ golf tournament and pond hockey events in addition to all of the efforts made on game nights.
In addition, Dubielewicz was proud to inform the community that the longstanding tradition of having a Rockies athlete chop, pile and sell firewood within the community helped finance the team’s bus. He added that many of the athletes already have plans to return to the valley next season.
“I just want to thank all of the players and volunteers for all of the time that they put in throughout the year,” he concluded before the awards presentation.