Saanich Peninsula hockey players meet Jamie Benn, Eagles alumni and current NHL star

Midget team gets boost from former Peninsula Minor Hockey product right before provincial tournament.

Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars met players from the Peninsula Eagles Midget squad this month

Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars met players from the Peninsula Eagles Midget squad this month

Peninsula Minor Hockey’s Tier 2 Midget squad is the third-best in the province.

On March 23, the Eagles defeated their Vancouver counterparts 4-1 to secure the bronze medal.

Head Coach Paul Warmenhoven says the team was very happy with the win and the placing — which is the second-best showing for a Peninsula Minor Hockey team. The best was a second place finish for the Eagles back when Jamie Benn was cutting his teeth in minor hockey.

Warmenhoven said that past and the present come together just prior to the start of this year’s provincial tournament on the mainland, when his team got to meet the current NHL star. Benn, who now plays hockey for the Dallas Stars, took time to meet with the local players prior to Dallas’ recent game this month against the Vancouver Canucks. Interestingly, the current Midget squad is co-coached by Kory Coward — Benn’s teammate on that Peninsula team that won silver back in 2004.

“Thirteen years later, Kory’s a coach,” Warmenhoven said. “And everyone was thrilled to meet Benn and tour the Canucks’ dressing room prior to watching the game.”

Warmenhoven said the visit with Benn, who asked the players about their team, was good inspiration for the young players going into the provincial tournament.

It paid off for the squad, which reached the bronze medal match. Warmenhoven said his team’s only losses came at the hands of Port Moody and Vernon. Port Moody would go on to beat Vernon in the final.

Warmenhoven said five of his players are aging out and could go on to play for higher levels ‚ including Major Midget and the Peninsula Panthers’ Junior B team. The coach said he expects many returning players next season, as well as a good crop of players moving up into Midget hockey.