“Every second year I play, my team normally wins a lot,” says 15-year-old Graham, captain of the Acadia Bantam AA team. “I was pretty excited because I’ve never won provincials before. It was a goal.”
The Acadia Axemen Bantam AA team had a historic win April 9 when they defeated Glace Bay 7-1 in the final game of the season - making the bantam squad the first Acadia minor hockey team in their division to win the Hockey Nova Scotia provincial title.
“For me, it was almost surreal,” says Best, head coach of the Acadia team. “It was emotional, but it was almost like relief, just because you want it so bad for the kids. No one really realizes how much sacrifice and work they put in.”
The game took place in Glace Bay, home of their final rivals. The game brought in an audience of 400-500 people.
Graham, who never missed a practice or game, had to watch his team’s win from the sidelines: his arm was injured during the semifinals.
“It was really sucky,” he says. “I really wanted to play … We had an OK team to play in the finals though, so I was confident.”
And they had reason to be confident. Best says the team had “a lot of extra practices,” including early mornings and late nights. For a group of 14- to 16-year-old boys, that takes commitment.
But, that didn’t stop Graham from reacting to their win like a typical teenager: “I was needing a new Instagram picture,” he says, laughing.
This year, the Acadia Bantam AA team’s success was unsurpassed. Not only did they win the provincial tournament, but the team won three other tournaments as well.
Graham says knowing he has the best team in the division is “pretty sick.” He hopes to make the Central King’s Rural High School team next year.