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Woolwich Novice team skates to a perfect season

A perfect regular season record in any sport is near impossible, but doing it twice? Well, the boys from the Woolwich Wildcats Novice A hockey team have done just that.

“I am blessed by the fact that they are all dedicated to working hard here,” said Rob Hall, the team’s head coach. “They all know in their heart of hearts that what they have done is pretty special and they have done it together as a team. We have had individual success, but for the most part, we have had team success.”

Wildcats Cruz Balog, Zack Forwell, Nolan Martin, Evan Hall, Colton Brito, Lucas Frey, Zack Wiseman, Mason Gear, Rhys Taylor, Liam Straus, Cameron Fisher, Max Krasovec, Reese Martin and goalies, Cohen Patterson  and Cohen Hamburger are led by coaches Hall, Mike Brito and Brian Straus, supported by trainers Greg Martin and Kim Wiseman.

The squad just wrapped up the 2017-18 regular season, posting a record of 28-0 and outscoring their opponents 190 to 13.
“We have a defensive team and an offensive team – to have both is truly unheard of, it’s something amazing to have really the best of both,” he said. “We are amazed with the success that we have had. We do what we can to keep them sharp, but again its all of them that really take care of it on the ice and prove that they are great hockey players.”

Hall, a lifelong hockey player himself, is in his second year coaching the team that moved up from tyke.

“Last year’s regular season was perfect as well, 18-0, so we duplicated the effort, which was great. It took a lot to do that, “ he said. “It may sound like easy to repeat it, but the word ‘easy’ doesn’t apply. Everybody has been working very hard to make that happen, and the credit goes to the kids. We coach them, but they execute on the ice.”

The young players are ready for practice ahead of time, always prepared and attentive speaks to the character of the 8-year-olds, says the coach.

Teamwork is at the core of the success, suggest the boys themselves.

“It went really well,” said Mason Gear, “because we worked together and we passed the puck.”

“Our team is really good,” added Zack Forwell.

“It is very fun because we get to like play around, score goals and pass a lot,” rounded off Rhys Taylor.

While the team has found success throughout the year, coach Hall says they have weathered a few losses in tournaments as well, something he says is vital to the development of any young athlete.

“They know that it has been a lot of hard work. We have been quick to temper them, though, that this is uncharacteristic. Their achievement is one thing, but there is an aspect of losing as well that they have to understand,” he said. “We have suffered that through tournaments and its good for them; it’s a balance.”

Through it all, however, the key is for the players to have fun doing it, he adds.

“We want them to have a balance. The main thing is that they have to have fun, they have got to have fun doing it,” he said, motioning to a the eager group of boys ready to get out onto the ice. “And I don’t think we have any concerns about that.

“They have done well, very well. I am very pleased; I am very happy to see the success that they have had – they have done very well for themselves, they are a very dedicated crew and some fine young boys.”

Reaching an accomplishment this young – for the second time – that many never see is something to celebrate, even if the season isn’t over yet: there are the playoffs.

Over the weekend, the boys continued their winning games, taking the first two playoff games.

“Off to a great start in the playoff round and our target for an OMHA title,” said coach Hall.

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