The call came just after practice, an extra practice in fact added to the teams schedule to prepare for the upcoming Play off Championship series in which the Millbrook Stars Peewee LL had qualified to play. The call was from the OMHA…..and with that call the hockey season was done. That was Thursday, March 12th….and to say it was a disappointment for all the players, and parents and coaches and hockey volunteers that are involved in getting a team on the ice….would be an understatement.
So, this year in hockey did not end as we had hoped with the hoisting of a championship trophy, but the year was exceptional in so many ways that it will still be one full of great memories for all involved.
This team of young ladies and gentlemen had come a long way on and off the ice. They showed development as a team and greatly improved their hockey skills resulting in their qualifying for the championship series. They also developed as people, learning the importance of acts of charity and community giving.
December was a big month for volunteering for the team. It all started with baking cookies at Coach Brian’s. These cookies were packaged and donated to Community Care to sell at our town’s annual Christmas in the Village. That night team members also sold raffle tickets for the Christmas trees which had been decorated and donated by our local businesses. Just before Christmas, the team met up at Centennial Place to watch a Leafs game with the residents. They couldn’t arrive empty handed, so there were gifts for all donated and wrapped by the players and their families. In January, the team wrapped up their good deeds with a bottle drive to help cover the cost of tournaments they were to participate in.
On the ice, the growth and development of this team over the season has been remarkable. We saw switches flipped for many players that had them more engaged in the game. They developed a great camaraderie on and off the ice which helped them improve as a team as well.
Their final two tournaments were a testament to their improved efforts. They won their division in the Bob Black Memorial Tournament in Oshawa and made it to the semi-final. The team also overcame some adversity with a severe flu bug taking its toll. The first game of the tournament was played with only eight of the 15 skaters on the team, with flu taking out five of them and two of their teammates being involved in a car accident on the way to the game. Everyone suffered only bumps and bruises after being hit by a driver in a stolen vehicle.
The biggest obstacle at the end of this season seemed to be illness, which left their bench shorthanded for many games, and those that did play were often less than 100%, playing with their puffers on hand.
Their determination was admirable. Their commitment was incredible. Even though the year has ended in a bit of limbo, I for one could not be prouder of this team!
By Timmi Brady and Brian Field