fbpx
11 C
Elmira
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

OHF midget A provincials come to Woolwich

Jr. Sugar Kings get a second chance while playing host to this weekend’s action

TRENDING

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta RebiszewskiFive candidates are vying for your vote in...

Kitchener-Conestoga too close to call

With less than five percentage points separating the Conservatives and Liberals in the riding, Kitchener-Conestoga has become too close...

Organizers aim to put environment at the forefront of election

The federal election underway, environmental groups are looking to make issues such as climate change a central part...

Harold Albrecht back to MP’s duties after suffering a minor stroke

Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht is back to work after recovering from a stroke earlier in the month.Albrecht, 69, was...
Faisal Ali
Faisal Alihttps://observerxtra.com
Faisal Ali is a Reporter/Photographer at The Observer.

It’s the one of the biggest events in midget A hockey in the province, and it’s happening right here in Elmira. The Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) Midget A Championship is being hosted at the Woolwich Memorial Centre this year, bringing some of the top teams in the province to compete on Elmira ice this weekend.

For township residents, the championships are a chance to catch some premium midget A hockey at home, as the winners of four minor hockey leagues from across Ontario battle it out in a set of round-robin matches to determine the province’s best.

But for the Junior Kings, who fell just short of clinching the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) midget A championships last month after a tight final series against Centre Wellington Fusion, the OHF games are a shot at redemption. As this year’s OHF hosts, the Elmira team received an automatic entry into the tournament.

“It’s the final tournament of the year,” explained Junior Kings head coach Zack Barriage. “So the winner of that series that we played [the OMHA], plus the winners of the other leagues, they all play in the tournament. But we’re hosting it this year, so we also get to play.”

While the Junior Sugar Kings will now be competing on ice for provincial status, it was another battle of sorts for Woolwich to become the hosts for the event. The Woolwich Minor Hockey Association placed a bid to host the event back in August, though they were not the only OMHA team to do so.

“I was obviously really excited and so happy that they chose us,” said Tracey Williams, chair of the championship organizing committee, and a member of Woolwich Minor Hockey. “There was that moment where I was like, ‘Oh no, I can’t believe now we actually have to plan this, because it is a lot of work.’ But I think it is a really cool thing for Woolwich to have, and a real feather in our cap as far as an association goes.”

Hosting rights for the OHF championships are rotated on an annual basis between the participating leagues. But while the OMHA was set as this year’s hosts for the midget A championship, Elmira had to compete against five other OMHA centres to win the bid.

For Woolwich, hosting the OHF championship is a major milestone in the township for minor hockey, says Williams.

“I wouldn’t say [it’s] a once in a lifetime opportunity for Woolwich, but it will be a once in, say, a decade or more. We’ve never hosted it before in all the years,” she says. “It’s going to be a once in, certainly a hockey-career lifetime for this to happen for our town, and it’s just going to be great hockey.”

With Elmira hosting the OHF championship, the Elmira Junior Sugar Kings will be facing off against the winners of four minor hockey leagues in the province. Those are the winners of the OMHA, the Centre Wellington Fusion; the Northern Ontario Hockey Association (NOHA), New Liskeard Lions; the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL), Lorne Park Clarkson Wild; and the Alliance’s Stratford Warriors.

“I think we can definitely do well. I mean, with the tournament style, it’s really different than a series,” said Barriage. “Like it’s one game, right? Anything can happen in a one-game series versus a five-game series, so it’s anyone’s game really.”

That was certainly the case in the finals of the OMHA, which saw the Junior Kings take on Centre Wellington in March. The two teams were so evenly matched it took an extra sixth game on March 29, and two full overtimes, for the series winner to be decided.

“Usually it’s only a five game series, but we tied game five after an overtime. So then they went to game six, and in game six they played three overtimes. We played two of them and lost to a second one,” said Barriage.

It was a game that was played down to the wire, with each save and each miss meaning the difference between an OMHA championship victory, and defeat.

Centre Wellington picked up an early lead in their March 29 meeting, putting two on the board before the first frame was out. The Kings responded in the second with a pair of their own on a four-minute penalty power play to tie the teams 2-2 as they headed into the third frame, where the two teams would be forced into several overtimes.

Ultimately, it was Centre Wellington that slotted the game-winning point, giving them the OMHA midget A championship.

“There was fantastic goaltending by both teams in that series. And there were so many times where one shot, one save was the difference to a series,” said Barriage. “And likewise, our goalie made some amazing saves in that third period and the first overtime that they probably should have won some of those shots too. So yeah it’s crazy. It comes down to one puck on net, or one breakaway and that’s all it is to win the whole thing. But that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

With the Kings and Fusion set to meet again this weekend at the WMC, it’s anyone’s guess how their meeting will go this time. But those hoping to catch the action will have ample opportunities, as five games are scheduled on both Friday and Saturday, and another three on Sunday.

Game times on Friday and Saturday are at 10 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 2:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. On Sunday the second and third place teams will face each other for an early morning game at 8:30 a.m., followed by the first and fourth teams playing at 10:30 a.m.

The final game of the championship will see the winners play in a 3:30 matinee for the provincial title.

“This is a really big event,” said Kurt Wilkie, VP of representative hockey with Woolwich Minor Hockey. “This is one of the biggest events for midget A hockey. It’s a big tournament, a lot of communities put a bid in for this and we were lucky enough to get it. So it’s a big thing to be a part of.

“If you want to see some exciting midget hockey, this will be the place to be this weekend,” he added.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted.By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

LIVING HERE

Program encourages Girls to give it a Go

Whether you’re a girl in need of a new friend or just someone to hear you out, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region (BBBSWR) is offering a seven-week GoGirls mentoring program at the...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Shantz family doesn’t have to look far to find new owner for historic schoolhouse building

With fall’s arrival, change is in the air, but that’s not reserved just for the weather. A St. Jacobs historical landmark is being...

A mixed-bag for Jacks as streak ends

The Wellesley Applejacks suffered their first regulation loss of the season last Friday, bouncing back to post a tie and a win as...

Former Wolfpack soccer player earning accolades as part of St. Thomas University team

Former Woolwich Wolfpack soccer player Brett Springer was recently recognized for his outstanding performance and sportsmanship as the athlete of the week for the...

Young Breslau martial artists continue to excel, collect hardware

It’s been another successful run for a pair of Breslau siblings, who crushed two martial arts tournaments in the past month.

Wellesley council declares a climate emergency

Wellesley has officially recognized that the municipality is facing a climate emergency, a situation that requires bold action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Advertisement -