A trip to St. Clair Shores, Michigan last month was a fruitful one for the Twin Centre Stars Novice Rep team as they captured the International Silver Stick title. The team went a perfect 5-0 in the tournament, tallying a whopping 33 goals in those five games to take home the title. “It’s very exciting,” said team manager Paul Schnarr. “It’s something that doesn’t come along very often.” The team qualified for the tournament by sweeping the regional Silver Stick tournament in Wasaga Beach back in November with a 4-0 record, and the win at St. Clair Shores was sweet redemption for a handful of players on the team who had the chance to go to Michigan last season, but didn’t win a game.
“From winning no games last year to winning it all was quite amazing and sure was exciting.”
The team is comprised of 7- and 8-year-old players from Wellesley, St. Clements, Hawkesville, as well as the surrounding area, and they opened the tournament with an 11-0 drubbing of the Detroit Devils on Jan. 21. They followed that up with a hard-fought win against the Kincardine Kinucks, in which they overcame a 2-0 deficit after the first and a 3-2 deficit after the second period to emerge 4-3 after the final buzzer.
The next day they beat the Strathroy Rockets 4-1 to advance to the semi-finals where they beat the hometown St. Clair Shores squad 7-1.
In the finals they once again faced off against the Kinucks, this time emerging with a 7-4 win for the title.
“They were passing the puck around and had a real team effort and determination to win,” Schnarr said. “It’s very tough to be an international silver stick champion, that’s quite an accomplishment.”
Jaxson Murray was named the most valuable player of the tournament, and Schnarr said their key phrase before each game was to be “extremely amazing.”
While the win was Schnarr’s first in his four years of managing the team, he said the real reward was watching how the team came together this season to play as a cohesive group. They are currently undefeated in 33 games this season, and the OMHA playoffs are already underway.
“It’s surprising as the year goes on all of a sudden they start to gel and talk to each other and have sleepovers and have really come together as a team. To me that’s the most important thing to see how these kids grow and come together as a team.”
The manager also credited the coaching staff, led by heach coach Jamie Hislop, for much of their success in helping the team develop both on and off the ice.
For now their focus is on the playoffs, a round-robin format against Delhi, Tavistock and Ayr with the top two teams facing off in a best-of-five playoff to determine the winner.