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Both Didsbury U11 hockey teams CAHL champions

U9 players aged-up contributing to the success of both U11 teams

DIDSBURY - Didsbury Minor Hockey Association's U11A and U11B teams took home championship banners in the Central Alberta Hockey League (CAHL). 

The wins are the first banner championships for local teams in many years, with the banners to now hang in perpetuity the Didsbury Memorial Complex Arena. 

“I am extremely proud, as are the rest of the coaches, of how our team played throughout the season,” Rick Phillips, head coach of the U11A team, said in a press release. “We were probably the youngest team in the league with only two second year players and four under-aged players. 

“We worked very hard at trying to improve all year and it really came together for us in the playoffs. I hope all the kids are proud of what they accomplished this year with all their hard work. They deserve it.” 

The U11A team played through a traditional playoff series format, beating Rocky 5 to 3 at its home game on March 10.

U11B team head coach Mike Howden said, “This victory is the result of the collective hard work from our team. It’s really inspiring to see how each player has grown throughout the season. Seeing their excitement and smiles after that last game was pretty cool. The coaches, parents and myself couldn’t be more proud.”

The U11B team played through a round robin series, playing through a collection of teams in its tier with a successful four wins and one loss. 

In the 2023-24 season the Didsbury Minor Hockey Association implemented a new format to its U11 teams, allowing its second-year U9 players to try out for the U11 teams, thereby aging them up and contributing to the success of both U11 teams. 

The initiative not only fast-tracked the development of the U9 players but also created enough skilled players to field two competitive U11 teams.

"The decision to embrace this innovative approach has proved instrumental in our championship victories, as it fostered greater parity of skill among players and elevated the overall calibre of our teams. 

Brent Feenstra, president of Didsbury Minor Hockey Association, said, “We are incredibly proud of our players, coaches, and volunteers for their dedication and commitment to excellence. This double championship win is a testament to the strength of our program and the unwavering support of our community.”

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