Savanah Sanchez with a likeness of herself in a Canucks’ uniform done by her mom Jessica. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Savanah Sanchez with a likeness of herself in a Canucks’ uniform done by her mom Jessica. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Girl’s passion for hockey knows no bounds

No games, but extensive ice time for training beneficial to Sanchez

One of the biggest Vancouver Canucks fans and Crofton’s best young hockey player is still going strong despite pandemic restrictions.

Savanah Sanchez, who turns 12 on May 28, played for the Cowichan Valley Capitals Peewee B boys rep hockey team during the 2020-21 season. She was the only female on the team.

Although there were only a few games during a short period of the season and a complete shutdown at one point, Sanchez feels she benefited from extensive practice sessions.

“It’s been good, it was still fun,” she said. “It was a good team.”

Ice sessions were held four times a week – Thursday nights in Lake Cowichan, and Tuesday mornings and both weekend days split between Fuller Lake Arena and Duncan – so there was no shortage of hockey.

“I feel like I progressed,” said Sanchez.

It might not have been quite as exciting for the parents, however, who either had to drop the kids off at the rink or wait in the car in the parking lot throughout most of the season.

“I miss sitting in the rink and watching the games,” conceded mom Jessica.

On the positive side, “I got to keep my voice this year, I wasn’t yelling and screaming,” she laughed.

This was Savanah Sanchez’s first year as a peewee, although she played girls peewee part time the previous season.

After doing the tryouts, Sanchez made the Peewee B rep team this year. And the season may have ended, but it’s never really over.

Sanchez has gone into training with the Open Spring Hockey League for the next few months to bridge the gap before the next season begins.

The OSHL, based in Langford, is a fun and competitive league for players of all skill levels and divisions. It started in 2017 with 75 players and rapidly grew to more than 200 players by the 2019 season.

The previous 2019-20 season was a particularly productive one for Sanchez before COVID restrictions hit near the end.

She played on the Atom B rep team – the only girl who tried out – and wore an A on her jersey as one of the team’s assistant captains.

Sanchez, normally a forward, switched between forward and defense that season. She ended in the top three for goals on the team.

Sanchez also played with the peewee girls team and went to the prestigious Women’s World Tournament, Wickfest in Surrey, which was great and gave her the chance to meet Hayley Wickenheiser and other Olympic medalists.

Sanchez scored the winning goal in a playoff game, landing a playoff banner for the team. She was also supposed to play spring hockey after that, but COVID shut everything down early.

Related story: Love of hockey shows in Crofton girl’s competitive spirit

Whenever Sanchez feels the need to fill that void in her training, she can shoot pucks at a willing goalie target who’s always ready for action in the driveway or the garage.

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Target practice can be conducted right in the driveway at the family home for Savanah Sanchez and mom Jessica. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Target practice can be conducted right in the driveway at the family home for Savanah Sanchez and mom Jessica. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Savanah Sanchez’s room is filled with Canucks and hockey memorabilia. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Savanah Sanchez’s room is filled with Canucks and hockey memorabilia. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Crofton’s Savanah Sanchez with the most famous female hockey player of all, Hayley Wickenheiser, at Wickfest pre-COVID. (Photo submitted)

Crofton’s Savanah Sanchez with the most famous female hockey player of all, Hayley Wickenheiser, at Wickfest pre-COVID. (Photo submitted)

Savanah Sanchez gets her picture taken with the Canucks’ Quinn Hughes in Victoria and an autograph from him. (Photo submitted)

Savanah Sanchez gets her picture taken with the Canucks’ Quinn Hughes in Victoria and an autograph from him. (Photo submitted)

Savanah Sanchez moves the puck up the ice for the Capitals. (Photo by Jessica Sanchez)

Savanah Sanchez moves the puck up the ice for the Capitals. (Photo by Jessica Sanchez)

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