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Tignish native wins first provincial championship in final year of minor hockey
The opportunity to hoist a championship trophy was a long time coming for Gracyn Handrahan.
The 17-year-old centre from Tignish realized that dream while proudly carrying on a family tradition in her final year of minor hockey.
The captain of the Western Wind was the first player to accept and skate with the Dalziel Cup, which was presented to the 2018-19 P.E.I. Midget AAA Female Hockey League champions. The Summerside-based Wind defeated the Central Storm 4-2 at Credit Union Place’s Ice Pad recently to sweep the best-of-five final series.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” beamed Handrahan in a post-game interview with the Journal Pioneer. “I’ve dreamed about this.”
It marked the first provincial championship for Handrahan, who has been playing hockey since she was four. She also enjoyed her first tournament win in the fall of 2018, when the Wind captured the Early Bird tournament in Charlottetown.
“This has been a great year,” continued Handrahan. “We’ve worked so hard for it, and it’s an honour to play with all these girls. We are so close, it’s awesome.”
Handrahan was also named most valuable player of the playoffs after recording 18 points in six post-season games. She had nine points in each of the Wind’s two playoff series.
“It’s awesome,” said Handrahan to receiving the MVP award. “My brother (Silas Handrahan) was captain in midget AAA (with the Alberton-based Western Regals), and they won the championship (two years ago). He got MVP, and it feels great to be like him. . .
“My dad (Shawn) is going to be pretty happy about this one.”
Handrahan, who played with Team P.E.I.’s female hockey team at the recent 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., was a key contributor for the Wind in Game 3. She scored what proved to be the game-winning goal 27 seconds into the third period, driving to the net off the left wing and making no mistake depositing a pass into the far corner to give the Wind a 3-0 lead.
“The coaching staff couldn't be happier for Gracyn,” said Wind assistant coach Stephen Gaudet. “She's such a hard worker, and was our leader this year.
“To see her raise that trophy over her head gave me chills. We could see it in her eyes before the final game that nothing was going to get in her way.”
The provincial championship win means the Wind will represent P.E.I. at the Atlantic midget AAA female hockey championship in Bathurst, N.B., from April 4 to 7.
“I just wanted to get this playoff series over and done with, and now the butterflies are going to start,” said Handrahan, a Grade 12 student at Westisle Composite High School. “I’m going to be really nervous, but I think we’ll do fine if we work hard.”
Playoff statistics for Western Wind’s Gracyn Handrahan:
Game 1 – two goals, three assists.
Game 2 – two assists.
Game 3 – one goal, one assist.
Total – nine points.
Game 1 – three goals, two assists.
Game 2 – one goal, one assist.
Game 3 – two assists.
Total – nine points.