The Fraser Valley Rush U18 female hockey team with Esso Cup silver medals in Okotoks, Alberta, with fans in stands. (Photo: Tiffany Luke via Facebook.com)

The Fraser Valley Rush U18 female hockey team with Esso Cup silver medals in Okotoks, Alberta, with fans in stands. (Photo: Tiffany Luke via Facebook.com)

HOCKEY

Silver medals for Fraser Valley Rush at national Esso Cup U18 female hockey championship

Rush battled for nearly a week as Pacific region reps at the Hockey Canada-hosted tournament

Fraser Valley Rush came close to winning an Esso Cup national championship but finished with silver medals.

The U18 female hockey team lost 4-1 in the Cup final to Ontario’s Durham West Lightning on Sunday, May 22, in a game televised nationally on TSN.

Loaded with Surrey-area players, the Rush battled for nearly a week as Pacific region reps at the Hockey Canada-hosted Esso Cup in Okotoks, Alta.

The Saturday semifinal saw the Rush win 3-1 over West region finalists Notre Dame Hounds, sending Fraser Valley to the Esso Cup final game the following day.

“I’m so happy for our group and proud of these girls,” said Rush player Vienna Rubin after the semifinal.

“This week has been a great experience. We didn’t know if we could even win our provincials, and now we’re in the Esso Cup final and that is something we won’t take lightly. We have to forget about all the distractions tomorrow and play our game.”

Later, an Esso Cup tournament award went to Rubin, voted Top Forward.

The six-team tourney also involved Prince Albert Bears (host), Northern Selects (Atlantic) and Remparts du Richelieu (Quebec).

“A huge THANK YOU goes out to our parents, grandparents, siblings, alumni, former coaches, other teams and everyone else who supported us and cheered us on, not just today or this week but all season!” the team tweeted. “We felt the support near and far!”

It’s been a record-setting season for the Rush, who in April won the Pacific region banner with a pair of close victories over the visiting Edmonton Pandas.

Champs of the BC Elite Hockey League, the Rush is a “zone” team that draws players from Whistler to Hope.

The squad includes 10 former Surrey Falcons players, including Sarah Leroux, Julia Clauzel, Kayla White, Nahvin Bal, Hayley Lee, Katie Leroux, Clara Juca, Anna McKee, MacKenzie Galick and Cassandra Kelher.

Fraser Valley had a significant number of 17-year-old players on its team last year.

Coming into the 2021-22 season, the Rush were a very young team with 13 new players, including several 14-year-olds.

This was the third Esso Cup appearance for the Rush, formerly Fraser Valley Phantom. The team served as host when the 2013 tournament was played in Burnaby, and was among two Pacific reps a year later.

Fraser Valley missed out on the semifinals in both years.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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