The North York Rangers Midget ‘AAA’ club has been slotted in at the top in Wednesday’s latest cross-Ontario rankings, according to the third-party website ‘myhockeyrankings.com’.
The club is the OJHL Rangers’ closest affiliates, with seven of the Junior ‘A’ club’s affiliated players regularly plying their trade for the midgets of the same name.
According to midget bench boss Rob Vessio, the biggest reason for the midget team’s success has actually been off the ice.
“I think the camaraderie in the room has been huge,” he said.
“The boys are really getting along, and it shows on the ice. Even off the ice everyone is having fun, so right now that, and a lot of secondary scoring, is really helping. You add two very good goaltenders on top of that, and we are a hard team to beat.”
Led up front by North York APs Will Calverley, Jason Pineo, Jett Alexander, Liam Gillanders, James Turner, and Jeremy Smith, the midgets have broken out to an 18-4-3 record, and have scored more than double the amount of goals than they have given up.
While the club is deep all over the ice, Vessio notes that he and his staff focused on recruiting one specific area over the others.
“Being an ex defenceman myself, when it came to recruiting we really focused on the D,” he said.
“We are happy with the group we have, and to get guys like Gillanders and even Smith to come back and play midget has been huge. There is still a lot to be learned, but as coaches we really felt we needed to build from the back end out, and it is paying off so far. We have a solid balance right now.”
The NYR midgets usually play Saturdays at Westwood Arena in Etobicoke, and Sundays at Chesswood Arena in North York.
Five current Junior ‘A’ Rangers are NYR midget ‘AAA’ alumni, including captain Jeremy Szabo, Louis Kereakou, Ryan Hunt, Jake DeMaeyer, and Matthew Galli.