Bring­ing that Cav­a­lier spirit to On­tario

Laval trav­els for high school hockey tour­na­ment


The Laval male hockey team liked its trip to On­tario so much, it’s plan­ning to travel much more in the fu­ture.

The Cava­liers were in On­tario for the Christ­mas Freezeout tour­na­ment held Dec. 11-12 at York Univer­sity in Toronto, Ont. Play­ing teams from all over the Greater Toronto Area , Laval fin­ished sec­ond in the Tier II C fi­nal hav­ing been de­feated by Cham­i­nade High School.

An open­ing-day snow­storm pre­vented Laval’s orig­i­nal op­po­nent from ar­riv­ing for the first game. In­stead, the Cava­liers squared off with the ju­nior varisty team from St. An­drew’s High from Tier I. They tied 1-1.

Next was a 3-2 win over Fenelon Falls, fol­lowed by a 5-3 loss to Lakeshore High.

“The com­pe­ti­tion in our di­vi­sion was as close as it could be,” said coach Michael Gam­bin. “If the same teams played another tour­na­ment it would prob­a­bly be as close with another team win­ning.

“As well, they treated our team like pro­fes­sional ath­letes.”

Or­ga­nized by Can­lan Hockey, the Freezeout took place in a fa­cil­ity with six ice sur­faces, in­clud­ing an Olympic-size rink where most games took place.

“(Can­lan) were ex­cel­lent to deal with through­out,” said Gam­bin. “It was a first class op­er­a­tion.

“Given how well this trip went … it is some­thing that will be­come an an­nual event for the hockey team.”

The warm and fuzzy feel­ings went both ways. The folks at Can­lan felt the same about the Laval team.

“They im­pressed ev­ery­one here,” said Can­lan high school tour­na­ment co-or­di­na­tor Al Rose. “They were a treat to have in the build­ing. They played with speed, were well­coached and showed good sports­man­ship. “They were a won­der­ful group.” The hockey team were not the only Laval team with travel plans that week. The se­nior fe­male bas­ket­ball team left the is­land a few days later to at­tend the ESPN Wide World of Sports Clas­sic tour­na­ment in Or­lando, Florida, Dec. 17-21.

“This is a first for the hockey team,” said Gam­bin. “The be­hav­iour of the stu­dent ath­letes from Laval is to be com­mended.”

Long time com­ing

This trip was a year in the mak­ing for Laval. There was find­ing the tour­na­ment, mak­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate travel ar­range­ments, find­ing of­fice ac­tiv­i­ties for the team and or­ga­niz­ing fundrais­ers.

“We are al­ways look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents to try new things and have pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ences at Laval,” said Gam­bin. “Last year my­self and Mark Nash, another teacher at Laval, were talk­ing and agreed that it would be nice to take this group of stu­dents off the is­land for a hockey tour­na­ment.”

With that in mind, Nash took the lead and spear­headed the trip, mak­ing sure there were teams to play, money raised and a slew of off-ice ac­tiv­i­ties for the team.

“I just had to pretty much show up and coach,” said Gam­bin. “This has been a year in the mak­ing and the or­ga­ni­za­tion be­fore­hand paid off.”

Lots to do

Beyond play­ing hockey, the Cava­liers were pretty busy.

The team took in a Toronto Rap­tors game, a Maple Leafs game, vis­ited the Hockey Hall of Fame and walked all over down­town Toronto and York Univer­sity.

“I would say the trip was a com­plete suc­cess,” said Gam­bin. “It was a non-stop four days. The boys were drop­ping on the way home.”

The tour­na­ment pro­vided a cou­ple of things for the Cava­liers. It was a good test of their abil­i­ties and it pro­vided them with some mo­men­tum head­ing into the sec­ond half of the high school sea­son.

“This was a huge con­fi­dence boost for our team and a great team builder,” said Gam­bin. “This has drawn them much closer to­gether and sets us up well for the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup. Our team is very ex­cited for this year’s tour­na­ment after last year’s sec­ond place fin­ish. As long as we do the lit­tle things like dis­ci­plined play and fo­cus in our end we should be OK. But in the end, this trip has been noth­ing but a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for our team and the school as a whole.”

Sub­mit­ted photo

The Laval Cava­liers male hockey team re­cently trav­elled to the Christ­mas Freezeout hockey tour­na­ment held at York Univer­sity in Toronto, Ont., Dec. 11-12. Mem­bers of the team are: front (l-r) — Nick Leonard-Power; mid­dle — Joel Nash, Jor­dan Pomeroy, Larry Brewer and Lloyd Kiel­ley; back — Liam Shea, Justin Edi­son, Michael Leonard-Power, Michael Nash, Bran­don Collins-Brewer, Tyler Wrice, An­drew Kelly, Tyler Whit­tle and Ryan Hickey.

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