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.”
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.