Developing hockey players

For the second year in a row, the Summerland Steam Junior B hockey team are facing the Kelowna Chiefs in the division semifinals.

For the second year in a row, the Summerland Steam Junior B hockey team are facing the Kelowna Chiefs in the division semifinals.

The best of seven division semifinal series, which began on Tuesday evening, will continue at least until the weekend.

The two teams, ranked second and third respectively in their division, have been tough competition for each other during the regular season. As a result, the semifinals are providing fans with a strong, exciting level of hockey action.

When the two teams faced each other last year, Summerland won the division semifinals in seven games and advanced to face the Osoyoos Coyotes, losing that series in six games.

One of the games against Osoyoos went into triple overtime.

For the players, Junior B hockey provides an opportunity for development and advancement and preparation for playing on Junior A teams and beyond.

For younger aspiring hockey players, the players are examples of dedication to their sport.

But the league and the Summerland Steam are about far more than on-ice performance.

While those on the team improve their skills as hockey players, they are also developing skills in teamwork and presentation — skills which will serve them well off the ice as well as during their games.

During the semifinals, the players will put those skills into action. The result is high quality, intense hockey.

While the team has provided fans with a consistently strong level of hockey, attendance at the games has been low.

The games during the semifinal series are an opportunity for long-time fans to keep up with the game as well as an opportunity for casual watchers to check out the excitement that comes with playoff hockey action.