That familiar feeling
Junior Stars trio know a thing or two about winning titles
The final game of the St. John’s Junior Hockey League championship series had a familiar feel for a trio of young players from the CBN Junior Stars.
Up 4-0 as the clock ticked towards the final buzzer, midgetaged players Mark Barrett, Cameron Simms and Ryan Petten were on the verge of winning the first league title for the Stars in a decade.
They were playing on the same line and were vying for a title. Yeah, this felt familiar.
It was just the latest in a rich history of hockey between the lifelong friends.
“It was pretty cool us playing on a line for the last three games of the series,” said Simms, a 16-year-old from Coley’s Point. “The chemistry was there instantly.”
“We just wanted to take it one shift at a time,” added Barrett, 17, from Spaniard’s Bay, of their job in the game.
They wanted to play a sound defensive game, keep the Avalon Capitals at bay before letting the Stars’ offensive big guns take over.
As the final seconds of the game slipped away, the trio gave a couple of quick glances to each other. They’d been here before.
“Those last couple of minutes were the longest of my life,” said 16-year-old Petten of Clarke’s Beach.
“It was a race to see who could take their gloves and helmet off first,” added Simms A long history
Aside from the junior championship, the trio has been integral parts to each other’s hockey success for as long as they can remember.
They’ve won minor hockey banners together, high school tournaments and been a part of some formidable teams out of the Bay Arena minor hockey system in Bay Roberts.
Barrett and Simms were a part of Team NL at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in B.C.,
while the three of them participated in the QMJHL Gatorade Challenge as members of the Newfoundland and Labrador contingent.
Of all that, they say the junior titles ranks at the top of the list alongside the Joe Lamontagne Memorial tournament they won a couple of years ago in Cole Harbour, N.S. Fitting in
There was some worry about fitting into a locker room filled with older players. There were some they’d played with as members of the Tri Pen Osprey a year ago, but others they had no experience with.
Each said they were accepted as one of the guys almost immediately.
“They did a lot to make you feel welcome,” said Petten.
Being the — very — young guys in the room gave the trio a desire to prove themselves every night. The oldest players on the team are 22-years-old.
“There was double the pressure because we were so young,” said Barrett.
In 10 games, Petten registered one goal and one assist. Simms had one goal and two assists in 14 contests. Meanwhile, Barrett had four goals and 11 assists in 17 games.
That doesn’t take into account the attention paid to them by opposing players.
Being midget-aged they’re still required to wear a full facemask, whereas their junior counterparts can go with the half visor.
That difference led to a bit of trash talk.
“You get a lot of ‘go take your
bird cage off’ and other things like that,” said Barrett. Plenty of championships
The junior victory represents title number four for the trio. With the Ascension Astros, they were a part of a team that brought home the Wesley Gosse Memorial Tournament championship, an Oktoberfest tournament title and the provincial high school banner.
The last one is exceedingly rare considering athletes don’t usually get a regular shift with a junior B team until they’ve graduated from minor hockey.
It’s an accomplishment that isn’t lost on the young athletes.
“That’s a pretty cool part of it,” said Barrett. “I don’t think that’s ever been done before.”
Midget-aged players (from left)Mark Barrett, Ryan Petten and Cameron Simms were a part of the CBN Junior Stars St. John’s Junior Hockey League championship victory last week.