In October, the East Kootenay U15 Avalanche were the Tier 1 Kelowna Tournament champions. (Submitted)

In October, the East Kootenay U15 Avalanche were the Tier 1 Kelowna Tournament champions. (Submitted)

Hard work is paying off for Creston goaltender

Rotar is playing for the East Kootenay U15 AA Avalanche team

Submitted

After attending the tryouts in September for the East Kootenay U15 Avalanche team, Creston net minder Brody Rotar secured one of the two goalie positions. Brody is one of only three first years on the team, and the only first year goalie.

Rotar credited Matt Armitage (former WHL Calgary Hitmen Goalie) in helping him achieve this goal. Armitage spent time with Rotar throughout the summer doing goalie specific dry land training as well as some on ice sessions. Rotar benefited from Armitage sharing his knowledge and experience with tryouts, what coaches are looking for, and the mental aspect of being a goalie.

The East Kootenay Avalanche are playing Tier 1 AA hockey in the Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association (OMAHA), with players from Creston, Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie, Invermere, and Golden.

Currently, the team is first in the standings with 10 wins, one loss, and three ties. At the end of October, the team travelled to Kelowna to play in the U15AA Tier 1 Tournament. Teams from Victoria, Central Okanagan, Juan De Fuca, West Kootenay Zone, Vancouver, Ridge Meadows, and Abbotsford attended.

The East Kootenay Avalanche played the West Kootenays in the semi-finals, where Rotar stopped over 40 shots and gave up one goal. The Avalanche advanced to the finals. The gold metal game was against Victoria, which the commentator remarked were two equally matched teams with the results coming down to goaltending. Rotar rose to that challenge and with over 35 shots managed to pull of his very first shut out playing at this level of hockey. The Avalanche defeated the Victoria Admirals 5-0, and Rotar was awarded Player of the Game.

Rotar credits his success to his goalie partner, Hannah Palumbo, his strong teammates, and his coaches. It is a collective effort from everyone.

It has been a lot of hard work, on and off the ice, and time on the road for Rotar and his family to be able to reach this level of hockey. He was able to goalie transfer to Cranbrook his first year of U13. He played for the Cranbrook Wings, which played in the South Central Alberta Hockey League and travelled as far north as Lacombe, Alta. and as far east as Medicine Hat, Alta. for league games. The following year, Rotar was again able to transfer to play for the U13 Cranbrook Bucks. They managed to squeak out six games before the season was shut down due to COVID-19.

It has been a huge learning curve for Rotar, coming from a house team then transitioning to a rep hockey program. He hopes that his hard work will one day pay off, and he will be able to play for the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.

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