Saskatoon Stars return to Esso Cup on mission to win 1st gold

The Saskatoon Stars are in the 2019 Esso Cup hoping their fourth trip in five years will result in them returning as Canadian champions.

They came home from Bridgewater, N.S., with a silver medal after losing 2-1 against the St. Albert Slash in the 2018 national final.

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“Even throughout the summer, pre-season tournament and our regular season, they were using (the loss) as motivation,” Stars head coach Greg Slobodzian said.

“We talk about it all the time. You have a choice how you respond to something and they chose to respond in the right way.”

Graduating player Grace Shirley led the Stars in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League with 48 points in 25 games this past regular season.

She is one of 13 Stars back trying to capture the Esso Cup that eluded them last year. This will also be Shirley’s fourth and final shot to win the elusive title with the team.

“It would be really exciting,” Shirley said.

“Any time you go (to the Esso Cup), it’s obviously an amazing experience … but at the end of the day, as an athlete, I want to win and I want our team to win.”

The Sudbury Lady Wolves, Halifax Fire, Stoney Creek Sabres, Slash and As de Québec also secured the opportunity to compete at Canada’s national female midget championship.

Saskatoon will play their first game of the tournament against the Sabres on April 21 in Sudbury, Ont.

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