CORNER BROOK The original collective goal of the Corner Brook men’s team was to finish in the top three and earn a medal at the 2014 Broomball Newfoundland and Labrador Junior Provincial Championships.
Even though the tournament only opens today, two teams dropped out of the male division, leaving just a trio of clubs competing — Corner Brook, St. Anthony and host Bishop’s Falls.
“Now we’re hoping to go for gold,” said team captain Brandon Pittman of the change in plans. “We’re going to try to bring it back.”
The 18-year-old, now a five-year veteran of the sport, was voted in as captain by his teammates. Introduced to the sport by his brother, Blaine Richards, Pittman immediately took to it because, quite simply, it was fun. He used to play hockey, but this new game on the ice provided a whole new set of challenges.
“It’s like a mixture between soccer and hockey,” he said.
A first-year student at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Pittman doesn’t just compete in the junior age group. He’s started playing in the senior men’s league on Monday nights now too, a move that’s quickly improved his game.
“It’s more competitive than junior, for sure,” he said. “But it’s not bad.”
Going only by word-of-mouth, Pittman’s not expecting either St. Anthony or Bishop’s Falls to be as strong as they have been in years past. His own team, however, should be able to hit the ice running because of an innate familiarity between the players.
“We’ve all been playing together for about three years now,” he said. “Our team hasn’t changed in so long.”
That consistency has led to excellence in all areas of the game, Pittman believes, as he listed offence, defence and goaltending as strengths of his group.
“I think we’re just an all-around pretty good team,” he said. “I don’t see why we can’t win gold.”
The female division, meanwhile, will consist of St. Anthony White, St. Anthony Blue, Exploits and Stephenville.
Tournament action begins 7 p.m. tonight with a men’s division encounter between Corner Brook and Bishop’s Falls.
For a full schedule, see Scoreboard on page 14 of Thursday's Western Star.