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North Bay native wins gold in U18 women’s championship in B.C.

A North Bay hockey coach is celebrating after his team won the National Women’s U-18 Championship on Saturday.

Joe Butkevich and his Ontario Red U-18 women's hockey team celebrating their gold medal win on Nov. 11/23. (Photo courtesy of Joe Butkevich)

Joe Butkevich coached his team, the ‘Ontario Red,’ to victory in the gold medal game at the Ovintiv Events Centre in Dawson Creek, B.C.

The Reds won their sixth-consecutive gold medal at the tournament, defeating Quebec 3-2 in overtime.

The team has captured gold in 13 of the 14 national championships since the inaugural tournament was held in 2001, while Quebec earned its eighth silver medal and their first since 2016.

After regulation, Butkevich said he told his players he knew when they were going to skate out for overtime and win the game.

“I went in right away and told the girls we are winning this, we have this,” Butkevich said.

“(This experience) has been phenomenal, from the host committee to the volunteers. It is a small-town community with a great feel. Everyone wanted to put Dawson Creek on the map, and they did that this week.”

Mackenzie Alexander scored the golden goal, knocking in a rebound on a power play just 25 seconds into overtime. All three of the team's goals with scored on power plays. The goal left Alexander tied for the tournament lead of five goals and nine points.

“I was just lucky enough to be right there to tap it in,” she said.

“We are such a tight-knit group, so to win gold with these girls is such an honour. This is an absolute dream come true.”

Joe Butkevich, originally from North Bay, is celebrating after his team, the 'Ontario Red,' won the National Women’s U-18 Championship on Saturday. (Image courtesy of Hockey Canada)

Alexander also took home the tournament award for ‘Most Sportsmanlike’ with her teammate Hannah Clark winning the award for ‘Best Goaltender.’

Butkevich, who is originally from North Bay, is no stranger to medals – he picked up a bronze with Team China at the U-18 World Championships in 2020.

He also currently serves as the head coach of the Etobicoke Jr. Dolphins of the Provincial Women's Hockey League Top Stories

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