This is the second in a series of minor hockey articles produced by Nick Raseta, an 18-year-old student pursuing a sports journalism career. His goal is to go beyond the scores, goals, assists and statistics. Over the weeks ahead, he will feature each of the city’s rep hockey teams, focusing on the unique stories and characters that provide the heartbeat of hockey in Orillia. Today, he looks at the minor midget team.
Having great chemistry on the ice is important. But having chemistry off the ice is something else entirely.
The Scotiabank minor midget Terriers have a diverse group of kids including students from all three of the local high schools. There are also players from Midland and Bracebridge.
One might think it would be difficult for these guys to maintain team chemistry when they are spread out geographically, but the minor midgets would disagree.
Left winger Cole Rasmussen uses a tough loss to the team as an example.
“We lost one of our forwards to a collarbone injury and the whole team felt bad for him,” said Rasmussen. “Whenever we lose someone to injury like that it’s tough on the whole team. He came to every game and cheered us on for the whole tournament, because we are all brothers.”
Left winger Will Mullen shares his experience with this dominant team.
“We are all nice kids, we hang out whenever we can,” he says. “I am excited when we have a game or practice not only because I get to play hockey, but I get to hang out with the team and that makes me more motivated.”
Left winger Jayden Murison says his experience with this diverse team feels right.
“Maybe at first we all didn’t know each other, but after a couple of practices it was like I was hanging out with my best friends,” said the forward.
Cole Vandusen believes this team has what it takes to go all the way.
“When you can’t see all the boys all the time, it makes you want to see them more. Our friendship has made us better hockey players and better friends just for our passion of the game and we all share that.”
Head Coach Tylan Labelle believes chemistry is the key. “On-ice chemistry stems from off-ice chemistry because everything runs smoothly when you have 15 guys who are friends and like hanging out with each other,” said Labelle.
Assistant coach Tim Mullen concurred.
“They look like one team wherever they go,” said Mullen. “It’s not a clique of ones that go to this high school or that one; once they get to the rink, they know what’s got to get done and so far, they have been doing that.”
Labelle adds: “We do have a very diverse group of kids who all go to different high schools but when they show up to the rink, they all are looking at the same goal which is winning an OMHA championship.”
Assistant coach Ryan Duprey says chemistry on the ice has been evident.
“We have had a big turn over from the past few years with respect to players, but it looks like these kids have been playing together since novice,” says Duprey. “Every kid sticks up for one another and there’s no one excluded from any team activities.”
Duprey adds: “You would think they hang out 24/7 because that’s just how strong their bond is.”
The minor midgets just returned fom a dominant winning performance at their Silver Stick qualifying tournament and have a division leading record in regular season play.
When asked what is ahead for this team, players and coaches alike predicted success. But Murison said it best.
“I’m looking for a couple of new hats. One that is green and says Silver Stick champions on it, and another one that’s red that says OMHA champions on it,” he said with a smile.
You can catch the Scotiabank minor midgets at their next home game on Dec. 14 at Rotary Place, when they host the Markham Waxers.