Article by Christine Ulmer, Team BC Communications
Jake Harrison closed out his Canada Winter Games experience with a second-period goal for Team BC in its final match against Nova Scotia. The 15-year-old defenseman from West Kelowna came into the 2015 Games with an ambitious goal of following in his older brother’s footsteps but B.C. came up short in a few key games, finishing sixth in the tournament.
“I was inspired by my brother Luke,” said Harrison. “He played for Team BC four years ago in Halifax and was a part of the team that won gold. I’m disappointed – I wanted to play on the last day of the Canada Winter Games and play for the gold medal but it’s still been a great experience.”
For Harrison, being a part of a multi-sport competition has been really unique.
“There are so many kids here and to see all the different athletes has been really great,” he said. “We got out to watch some table tennis and that was pretty amazing. The best part for me though was the games where we got a win. It felt so good to be the home province and to make B.C. fans proud.”
Jordan Robinson’s highlight of the Games came when he scored an empty netter against New Brunswick to clinch the game for B.C. with a score of 5-3.
“The net was empty and I chased down a puck that had missed the net and I was able to put it in,” he said. “The noise from the crowd was amazing, we’ve had really good support here in Prince George and it’s been pretty special.”
Robinson is from Kelowna and plays for the Okanagan Hockey Academy. The 16-year-old right-winger said Team BC has developed a special bond that is sparked by the leadership of his OHA teammate and Team BC captain Jordy Bellerive.
“Just being around the guys, on and off the ice, has made this experience so good for us,” said Robinson. “Jordy’s been so good at picking us up when we’re down. I play with him all the time so I know that about him but it’s been great for us as a team to work together through the good stuff and the adversity. He leads us on the ice and in the dressing room.”
Nick Watson didn’t know many of his teammates coming into the Canada Winter Games. The 15-year-old plays defence at the Delta Hockey Academy and the Prince George Games marked the first time Watson wore the B.C. jersey.
“These guys are like family to me now,” he said. “I didn’t really know very many of them but we have connected so well. I am going to miss every single on of these guys when this ends.”
Watson is disappointed by the team’s results and is admittedly very competitive so losses are tough for him to stomach.
“I’m intense and I love being competitive and we’ve been working really hard,” he said. “I guess I just don’t think this group of guys is a sixth place team but things can happen, you win some and you lose some.”
Watson spent much of the tournament battling a head cold.
“We’ve had to overcome some adversity but that is part of it,” he said. “A lot of guys were sick or injured but we battled through. I’ve been tired but I’ve overcome that. I think we all understand this opportunity will not come again so we really tried to make the most of it.”
The Canada Winter Games will not be the final stops for Harrison, Robinson and Watson in their hockey careers. All three players hope to move on to the junior level and play in college. And of course, the dream for any young talented player is to make it to the NHL. But for now, the Canada Winter Games experience is a memory all three will hold tightly to.
“We went out there and played for our province and worked hard against a group of amazing players from across Canada,” said Watson. “It’s really been the best of the best – and a very high level of talent and I’m proud to have been a part of this team.”