This year on the 25th of June, the Willunga Raiders participated in the 2014 Ice Factor Hockey Division 2 Tournament, along with 6 other teams from the surrounding areas. They competed in six matches each, facing each team head to head, in an intense 8-minute match each round. The Tournament is played at Thebarton Ice Arena, with the games beginning at 9 am.
All of the players on our team did very well, playing their hardest and encouraging the others that were on the ring when they were sitting in the players box. They sorted out their own positions amongst themselves, based on what they knew they had the ability to do as a player and as a team. They also coached themselves and made consecutive decisions amongst themselves when the coach was otherwise occupied with different teams.
While the day started off slow, with the first game against Fremont ending in a 3 – 2 loss, the team picked up speed as they continued to play, eventually winning 3 out of their 6 matches, finishing with a strong win against the Seaford Strikers at a score of 3 – 0. The boys had great sportsmanship skills on the day, being friendly and polite to the other teams and coaches, upholding the reputation of Willunga High School.
The other teams that participated in the Tournament were Findon, Fremont, Seaford 6 – 12, Aberfoyle, Pasadena and Bowden Brompton, with Pasadena winning overall and going home with the cup.
The Opening Ceremony was in the middle of the day after the teams had played a few games against each other, with some of the main sponsors’ representatives present and Channel 7’s Today Tonight presenter Rosanna Mangiarelli giving out the awards to the players who had earned them. The players also had the support of their parents, grandparents and other family members to cheer them on and support the team as a whole, adding to the support from the sponsors and coaches that were also present to watch the games and cheer on all of the teams.
Being a part of this team has shown me the dedication that the players put into their sport, into their team and into the games. Having only been in the Ice Factor for two terms and coming from mainstream schooling, I can really understand how important this program is for some of the kids on the team, because it gives them something to work towards and to strive for. It teaches them the importance of teamwork and the use of communication to be able to work together as a functioning unit, creating an excellent, hard working team of strong individuals that now know, thanks to the Ice Factor program, how much they are actually capable of and how much they can achieve when they work hard towards it. Through the training and lessons that we are taught with the coaches inside and out of the program, the team works together and learns how to be better players, as a whole and as individuals, to be the great team that is the Willunga Raiders.