Story by: Jamie Neugebauer, Media Coordinator
The North York Rangers ‘AAA’ Midgets earned a berth in the 2016 Telus Cup in Quispamsis, N.B. by defeating the Whitby Wildcats in the All-Ontario final on Sunday in Waterloo.
Four of the Top 5 point-getters at the OHF tournament were Rangers, with North York Jr. ‘A’ affiliated player William Calverley leading the way with 15 points in the seven contests.
Head coach Rob Vessio’s squad won six of the seven games in the tournament, which also included the Kanata Lasers, Waterloo Wolves, Sudbury Wolves, and London Jr. Knights.
“I am beyond proud,” said Vessio.
“We set the goal, the bar high right from the get-go this year, and this is what we wanted to do. First, to win the GTHL, and then this was step 2. Kudos to all the second-year guys that bought in, that came back to make this happen; it’s definitely a special feeling. Every team there were good hockey teams, but we didn’t feel like we had to change anything. We wanted teams to adjust to us, and we did that. We have skilled guys, and good defensive guys, good goaltending; so we stuck to our plan, and any type of game we face, we can definitely deal with. A lot of teams had to play run and gun with us, and we came out on top.”
The 2016 Telus Cup, the national midget tournament, features six teams: five from the different national regions (the Rangers will be representing the Central Region) and one host, the Saint John Vito’s. It will run from Apr. 18 – when North York will open up the tournament against the West Region champion Saskatoon Contacts – until the gold-medal game on the evening of Apr. 24, a game that will be aired live on TSN.
Five of the North York midgets played at least one game for Brent Hughes’ junior club this year, including captain Calverley, Jason Pineo, Aiden Casey, Jeremy Smith, and Jett Alexander.
James Turner, Liam Gillanders, Daniel Tsiampas, and Sean Josling were also available to Coach Hughes.
Defenceman Noah Holm played one game for the OJHL’s Toronto Patriots, while right winger William Hunter was an ‘AP’ of the OJHL’s St. Michael’s Buzzers.
“Its so much fun,” said Vessio, of his team’s success.
“And to be the first North York team at this stage means a lot. It’s kind of history in the making, and Im just proud to represent everyone. It hasn’t sunk in yet, but we are just enjoying the moment, and we will figure that out as the time goes on.”