1999 Berwick Bantam Girls Hockey
In the late 1990s, girls throughout the country were turning to hockey, and Berwick was no exception. By 1997, a handful of Berwick girls were travelling to Wolfville to play for an all-girls team called the Nova Blues.
With numbers anticipated to grow for the following season, Peter Connell and Mike Trinacty decided to organize a team out of Berwick. With Peter’s daughter Amanda and the Best, Kinsman, Bent and Trinacty girls, three-quarters of a team was already in place.
With interest throughout the province, it didn’t take long to create a girls-only league consisting of Pictou, West Hants, Liverpool, Middleton and Berwick. Wit the exception of Pictou, the league was made up of all first-year teams.
In order to improve competition and ensure more ice time, the league schedule was augmented with games against boys’ teams and the girls’ team from the Metro League.
The league championship tournament was held in Middleton, a five-team round robin with the top two teams making the final, not unlike the format at provincials.
Berwick went 3-0 in the round robin, beating Middleton 3-0, Liverpool 5-2 and West Hants 6-0, with three different players – Megan Best, Jessie Best and Amanda Pastuck – earning Game MVP honours.
Pictou proved a little more of a challenge, topping the Berwick girls 3-1. Pictou and Berwick met again in the final, which turned out to be a real nailbiter, with Amanda Connell’s third goal of the game in the second overtime the game-winner in a 3-2 win.
In a provincial qualifier, Berwick took on Dartmouth, the Metro League champs, and won the opening game after a close, competitive battle. After that game, it was discovered that there was room at provincials for both Dartmouth and Berwick.
The provincial championship was played March 19-21, 1999 in Stellarton. While many of the new teams weren’t sure if they were ready for provincials, that couldn’t be said for Berwick, which had played 60 games (17 against boys) and had gone 34-19-7 overall.
The girls faced Antigonish in their first game and won 4-0 on goals from Connell, game MVP Megan Best, Courtney Upton and Samantha Burrill. In a 3-1 win over Pictou, Connell had two goals and Melanie Trinacty one and goalie Jenn Smith was Game MVP.
In a 2-1 win over Dartmouth, Game MVP Amanda Connell had both Berwick goals.
Despite a 4-3 overtime loss to Baddeck in their final round robin game, Berwick managed to advance to the provincial final, with Baddeck again providing the opposition.
Utilizing a hard-skating, pressing offence and a stingy defence, Berwick got goals from Elizabeth Bishop, Jessie Best and Lindsay Williams and stellar goaltending from Smith in a 3-0 win that clinched the provincial banner.
Team members included goalies Jenn Smith and Leisha Bent; defense Cheryl Kinsman, Brigitte Bent, Megan Bent, Jillian Dalziel, Jill Trinacty and Lindsay Williams; forwards Megan Best, Amanda Connell, Amanda Pastuck, Jessie Best, Samantha French, Courtney Upton, Melanie Trinacty, Heather Kinsman, Elizabeth Bishop and Samantha Burrill; manager Janice Kinsman and coaches Peter Connell and Mike Trinacty.
We are pleased to induct into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame, in the team category, the 1999 Berwick bantam girls, Berwick’s first female provincial hockey champions.