Stryking Gold: Zablocki, Regina Rebels capture Esso Cup title

Regina Rebels photo The Regina Rebels are 2024 Esso Cup Champions

For the first time ever, the Regina Rebels are Esso Cup champions.

Regina captured the title with a 2-1 win over the North York Storm in the gold medal game on Saturday night at Kal Tire Place in Vernon, British Columbia.

Prince Albert’s Stryker Zablocki was a big reason for the Rebels success as she recorded eight goals and three assists in seven games, earning the nod for Most Valuable Player at the Esso Cup.

Although she had an impressive individual tournament, Zablocki says the team award of winning the national championship carries far more meaning.

“Throughout the weekend, it was just so exciting to see how far our team progressed. At the end of the day, I didn’t really care that I got MVP because we won a national championship. That feeling overcame every other feeling I’ve ever had.”

It would be a pair of goals in the second period that would propel Regina to the victory in the gold medal game. Berlin Lolacher would open the scoring at the 12:56 mark of the middle frame with her tournament leading 10th goal. Addison Greve and Rayna Hennie assisted on the play.

Zablocki would double the Regina lead just over two minutes later with her eighth goal of the tournament, coming unassisted.

North York would pull within one at the 13:37 mark of the third period with a power play goal off the stick of Lily Paisley. Sydney Bowness and Demi Lazarou provided the helpers.

That would be as close as the Storm would get as Zablocki’s second period tally ended up being the game winning goal for the Rebels.

The Rebels never lost a game in regulation throughout the entire tournament, posting a 3-0-0-2 record in round robin play and defeated the host Thompson-Okanagan Lakers 4-1 in the semifinal.

The gold medal at the Esso Cup wraps up an exceptionally busy season for Zablocki. She represented Saskatchewan at the Women’s U18 National Championship in Dawson Creek, BC in November and represented Canada winning a bronze medal at the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship in Zug, Switzerland in January.

“It was an amazing way to end.” Zablocki says. “Throughout the year, we experienced a lot of adversity and at the end of the day, we got the W. It was super fun to see that all our hard work paid off.”

With the hockey season now in the rearview mirror, it doesn’t mean Zablocki will be slowing down anytime soon. She plans on running track for the Carlton Crusaders while fitting in her offseason training regiment, all while continuing her high school education.

“The training will pick up now.” Zablocki says. “I’m starting track season right away here and then training both off ice and on the ice. I’m driving to Saskatoon to skate because there’s no ice in PA and I’ll probably be more busy than I was in this season, which is not the best but it’s super fun and I really enjoy that.”