Ditidaht hockey player gearing up for national Indigenous tournament

Sam Laskaris, April 19, 2019

David Edgar, a member of the Ditidaht First Nation, has cracked the roster of the B.C. male squad that will compete at this year's National Aboriginal Hockey Championships. (Nik Hoekstra photo)

Victoria, BC — 

David Edgar believes in the if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again quote.

The 16-year-old, a member of the Ditidaht First Nation, had tried out for the British Columbia male squad that participated in the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC) in both 2017 and ’18.

Both times Edgar failed to make the roster of that club.

But Edgar persevered and once again showed up for this year’s tryouts for the B.C. team, held earlier this month in Abbotsford. And this time around he managed to make enough of an impression to be chosen to the club.

He’ll represent the province at the NAHC, which will be staged May 7-12 in the Yukon capital of Whitehorse.

“It should be a good experience,” said Edgar, who spent the 2018-19 season with the Victoria-based Peninsula Panthers, a Junior B team that participates in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.

Edgar appeared in 35 regular season contests in his rookie season with the Panthers. The forward earned 14 points, including five goals in those appearances.

Edgar believes he will also be playing for the Panthers during the 2019-20 season.

“That’s the plan so far,” he said.

Edgar is also expecting to attend some tryout camps for Junior A franchises that compete in the higher-calibre British Columbia Hockey League. In all likelihood, however, he needs some more grooming at the Junior B ranks before seriously thinking of making a move up a level.

As for the NAHC, the annual tournament features Indigenous players from across the country representing their province or region. Those taking part are Bantam (14-15) and Midget (16-17) players.

A total of 20 clubs will participate at the Yukon tournament, which will feature female and male divisions. Besides B.C., teams entered in both groupings will include the reps from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario North, Ontario South, Eastern Door and the North (Quebec and New Brunswick). There will also be Team Atlantic entrants featuring players from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. And the host clubs will be from Team North, which will include players from Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

Since he had been cut from the B.C. club twice before, Edgar admits the thought of not attending this year’s tryouts did cross his mind.

“At first I was thinking of not going,” said Edgar, a student at Belmont Secondary School, located in Langford, a western suburb of Victoria.

But a phone call with a B.C. assistant coach convinced him to change his mind.

“He told me if I showed up and did what I was capable of doing, then I had a good chance of making the team,” Edgar said.

And that’s exactly what he did.

“I thought I had a good camp,” said Edgar, who would also be eligible to compete for the B.C. squad at the 2020 NAHC, whose location has yet to be announced. “I went in there with a good idea of what I had to do.”

The B.C. male team won the gold medal at the 2018 NAHC, which was hosted by Nova Scotia’s Membertou First Nation.

Edgar is obviously hoping the B.C. entry will be able to defend its title in Whitehorse. The club will be relying on plenty of veterans for leadership.

“There’s a fair amount back,” Edgar said. “There’s a good variety of forwards and D-men (defencemen) returning.”

Edgar is not entirely certain where he fits into the squad just yet. Team members will meet in Vancouver and have a practice before they head to the tournament.

“I’m sure they’ll be talking to us then individually [on] what to expect from us,” he said.

Prior to joining the Panthers for his first season of junior hockey, Edgar had spent one year with the Pacific Coast Academy’s Elite 15s. This club competes in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.
During the 2017-18 season, Edgar registered 14 points (seven goals and seven assists) in 31 games with the Pacific Coast Academy squad.