The best years of hockey are those that create lasting memories. First goals, epic rivalries, big wins, tough losses, and jokes among teammates – they all add up to stories that will endure for decades. This season was full of such stories.
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With the season barely underway, minor hockey took a pause as a new COVID variant made its way through the community. As February approached, the engine was restarted, and the team won 6 of 7 games in 9 days, jumping to the top of the standings. As the team faced down the final games of the regular season, three matches against the hometown rivals U15 LL2 became the difference between an A and B pool championship. Two-way hockey by both forward and defensive lines was couple with the league’s best goaltending due, leading the team to a first place finish in its division at the end of the regular season and a second place finish in the Lefroy Tournament.
As the playoff round robin began, it was clear that the challenge was increasing. Covid took players out of contention, and the Stars continued to find ways to win. On one particularly unnerving evening in Collingwood, only one of four2007-born players were available to play. The team, bolstered with two APs and having nothing to lose, played one of its most complete games of the season, pulling a win from the stunned Blues squad. With the playoff round robin coming to an end, a winner-take-all game was scheduled between Shelburne and the Stars, winner punching a ticket to the Georgian Bay A Pool championship. The Stars pulled out the win and secured a final versus Midland for all the potatoes.
The Wasaga Beach Local League tournament saw six U15 LL teams arrive at the Stars arena with the intent of coming away champions. Back-to-back wins in the round robin play secured the Stars yet another match against their hometown rivals. A rematch both teams savoured, U15 LL 1 came out on top again, booking a trip to the championship game against the Lindsay Muskies. From start to finish, the Stars contained and controlled the muskies, and the electricity on the bench and the ice led to an emotional eruption when the final horn sounded. The Stars had won their hometown tournament and lifted the cup.
The final challenge of the season was the Georgian Bay A Pool championship series against Midland. The first game was a rollercoaster, with parents, players and coaches leaving Midland one game away from elimination. Reconstituted with renewed confidence, Wasaga came home to the Stars arena for the second game. The Stars controlled the match from start to finish, conceding goals against a hard-battling Midland squad, but netting eight of their own to take the win and force a third and deciding game. The last game of the series did not go to plan, and both teams struggled to score until the final minutes when a player from Midland found a higher gear and netted goals to create a spread on the scoreboard that the Stars could not overcome.
The Stars ended the season with heads held high, knowing that they had finished top in their division during the regular season, playoff round robin, and having won the local tournament. Second place finishes in the Lefroy tournament and A Pool championships were humbling and will ensure they stay hungry for success in the future.
The bench staff – Coach Steve, Coach Tony, Coach Bob and Coach John – want to thank the players and families for their commitment, hard work, and perseverance throughout the season.