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Rockettes dominate championship finals 

The U18 Suroit Rockettes secured their championship win thanks to the teamwork between players, who developed a close bond throughout the season. Courtesy Shyanna Day

When Kahnawa’kehró:non Shyanna Day was chosen to be captain for the U18 Suroit Rockettes, she knew that she’d do anything to help her team achieve their goal: taking home the Lac St. Louis Regional Championship. 

And her team never lost confidence that they’d do exactly that, something that they confirmed during their final game last Sunday as the team piled on top of goaltender Eliane Mallette, celebrating the win. 

With this season being Day’s last ever playing minor hockey, leading the team to victory felt especially sweet. 

“That was our last regional championship together,” Day said. “It was really an amazing feeling. All we could do was smile, and laugh, and enjoy this moment which will forever be printed in our memories.” 

The U18 team beat out the Sud Ouest Storm Gris 4-2 to take home the championship title in an exciting final game. Day scored the first goal, giving the team an early lead and a boost of confidence, though things grew tense as the Storm Gris scored two goals. But nothing could rattle the Rockettes, who soon scored three more goals – two more from Day and one from Marie-Michèle Jean. 

The team’s coach, Ross Leclaire, said that the players’ teamwork is what led them to the win.  As well as Day, fellow Kahnawa’kehró:non Lexey Stalk-Leclaire, Casey Dailleboust, Tiakohawihtha Montour, and Shayleah Leclaire gave their all this season as they represented their community on the ice. 

“It’s what they wanted, and it was so exciting watching them and seeing them celebrate. That was a great feeling,” Leclaire said. “It’s how you want to close out the season, they worked all season for this game and there’s just no greater feeling than this.” 

Leclaire has coached many players on the team, including Day and his daughter Stalk-Leclaire, since they started playing hockey, becoming a key part of their journey.  

“After we won, I skated towards my coaches. (Leclaire) coached me my entire career, and I just gave him a hug of happiness because we did it,” she said. “He had faith in us all season, and that’s what pushed us to win a championship.” 

With the championship title under their belt, the U18 team gets another chance to show their skills on the ice, having secured a coveted spot at the Chevrolet Cup from April 11-14. And they’re not the only Rockettes team that made it – all Rockettes teams playing at the championships will be heading to the Cup, after the U11A, the U15A, and U13B also won their respective titles.  

“The best of the best get to go to the Chevy Cup,” said Tina Stacey, who was at the championship last weekend cheering on her daughter Ie’nahkwenha:wi Rice, the sole Kahnawa’kehró:non playing for the U15 Rockettes.  

She said she and other parents are delighted to see girls’ hockey thrive with all four teams headed to the cup. 

“That is amazing results from an all-girls league,” she said.  

The U15 championship game was intense, facing the U15 Southwest Storm. The Rockettes were down 1-0 for almost the entire game, and were losing confidence when they found some power, bringing the score to a tie and entering overtime. An overtime goal from Chloe Anderson secured a clean sweep for the team, who won all 17 of their games throughout the season. 

“When Chloe scored in overtime, we all went crazy and started screaming,” Rice said. “We had a lot of fans at the game, which helped with our confidence. My Uncle Sean, my baba, my grandma and my ista were at my game cheering for me.” 

Having community members in the stands was a little intimidating for other players, including Olivia Moon Meloche, who plays on the U13 team alongside fellow Kahnawa’kehró:non Iehwatsirahnì:ra’ts Gabriel. When the buzzer rang marking their team’s 2-1 win against the Westmount Redwings, she was delighted that she’d made the community proud. 

“She was really nervous, but once the game started her athletic abilities really kicked in,” said Meloche’s mother, Karahkwenhawe Sandi Goodleaf. “She just said that she felt so proud and happy.” 
Meloche and Gabriel had never played hockey before joining the Rockettes this season, making their championship win all the more special. Their team also qualified for the Chevrolet Cup. 

“It’s nerve-wracking, because it’s all new to us,” Goodleaf said. “But to have that feeling of winning and getting here after never playing is great.” 
The Chevrolet Cup kicked off yesterday evening, after The Eastern Door‘s publishing time. 

evedcable@gmail.com 

This article was originally published in print on April 12 in issue 33.15 of The Eastern Door.

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Eve is a reporter with the Eastern Door. She has also covered harm reduction and social justice issues for the Montreal Gazette, The Breach, Filter Magazine, and more.

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Eve is a reporter with the Eastern Door. She has also covered harm reduction and social justice issues for the Montreal Gazette, The Breach, Filter Magazine, and more.