Thank you for participating in this weekend's season-ending activities.
We had a lot of fun, both on and off the ice, and it was a great way to end the season by spending the weekend together and enjoying so much of what is great about our program.
90+ kids played in the 3 v 3, with several divisions playing right down to the wire, including 2 overtime sudden death winners. Congratulations to each of the division winners and all of the participants.
The Mite Development game and Family skate were great to watch and be part of, with more than 30 kids and parents out there competing, ages 6 to way more than 6.
We had our 1st ever combined Wolves DJ skate and parent Happy Hour, and we survived without any major injuries to either group! The food was great, the drinks seemed to disappear quickly, and it was fun to see so many kids and parents from different teams and age groups talking and hanging out together.
The Skills challenge this morning was a very competitive matchup and almost 50 kids and 12 coaches were involved. Congratulations to the Lightning Leprechauns, coached by Seth Strauser and Josh Sherwood, who took home the 2019 title and hardware with a narrow victory over The Green Machine.
Tremendous thanks to all of our volunteers, but particular recognition to Jenn Trent, Jess Fehl, Corinna Brownlie, Keri Sherwood, and Brian Keena, who all made personal efforts to pick up and deliver food and drinks all weekend and then manned the front tables to ensure that everyone was fed and that chaos did not rule the day. I'm not sure I can recall a time where I've seen a line for food that went out the front door at Vets! Thank you also to all of the other countless volunteers who stepped in and offered to help. It truly takes an army to feed a seemingly endless mob of hockey players and coaches and the weekend really went off without a hitch. Great job guys.
Lastly, our Awards ceremony was super special, as we recognized so many of the incredible efforts displayed by our Wolves this season. Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you to the coaches and Board for the nominations and selections.
This weekend is always both my most and least favorite part of our season, as it's such an awesome group of events to be part of, but it also signifies the end of our season together. As we head into Spring sports and many of us hang up the skates for the season, I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for being part of our program. The amount of time spent and the cost required to commit to providing an opportunity for your children to learn and love the great game of hockey is considerable. We know that you have choices each year in where you decide to make this commitment, and we are very glad that you are all part of our Wolves family.
I look forward to seeing everyone next Fall and hope that you all have a great off-season.
Please see the write up below from Coach Strauser, as his squad wrapped up their season last weekend in the Tier 4 State Tournament...
Thursday Night we entered the antiquated frozen environment known as South Windsor Arena to face Northwestern B.
After a long day of school and homework, the kids were a little groggy entering the rink. Some gummy bears and 90’s rock seemed to pump them up. They stepped on the ice ready to play. NW was allowed to whack away at our goalie far too long and eventually they pushed the puck in the back of the net to strike 1st. Brayden "Bubba” Wolfe decided it was time to answer. He picked up a loose puck and took off streaking down the side of the rink and launched a shot low glove side that hit the back of the net. The team tied the game. They had some chances, but just couldn’t find the back of the net. Then, with a few minutes left in the 3rd, a whistle was blown and our kids stopped skating - the Big Bear, our goalie, moved away from the net and lifted up his stick. They took a shot on an empty net and it went in. We all believed there would be a face off outside the zone. We were wrong- it was a goal. We lost the initial game 2-1.
Early Saturday morning we once again entered South Windsor arena to take on the home team, South Windsor C. The kids were still sad about their loss on Thursday night. Once we got them over that they were ready to play. The kids stepped on the ice ready for battle. Once again the opposing team was able to strike 1st. We ended the 1st period down 1-0. We started the 2nd period continuing to play amazing defense and the Big Bear kept us in the game with some fancy saves. Then late in the 2nd period, Lucas “Lukie Duke” Nadeau took off through the neutral zone and beat the defenders and then went for his deke- he lost the puck, but recovered pulled it around the goalie and launched a backhander top shelf. It sailed right past the goalie. We ended the 2nd period 1-1. It was now time to step up our game. Mikelah “Mickey" Strauser stole the puck and took off like a rocket skating past the remaining players. She launched a top shelf shot past the goalie and into the back of the net. South Windsor fought hard, but so did our defense - Adam "Bun-Bun" Cooney, Paige "Champ" Fehl, Kaeden "Clipper" Lampson and Tommy Boy Leahy never let up. The big bear made some key saves. Then they pulled the goalie. We made our adjustments to support the end of the game shut-down. Mikelah “Mickey” Strauser once again stole the puck and took off skating around the remaining players and launched a shot into the back of the empty net. We win 3-1
We returned to South Windsor a few hours later to take on Ridgefield B - the team was energized and ready to play. We took a different approach to this game- we decided to score 1st. Early in the 1st period, Max “Hammer” Hammerich picked up the puck in the offensive zone and fired a shot that bounced off the defensemen and found its way into the back of the net. The team continued to play amazing defense and Jacob the big bear Krause was at the top of his game. Tyler “tick tock” Kuwada decided to close the game by adding 2 additional goals. The big bear picked up his 12th shutout of the season with some help from a strong defensive core.
We made it to the semi-finals.
We faced Southern B in the semi- finals. The kids were very excited. We played a hard well fought game with a goal by Max “Hammer” Hammerich, but the kids just couldn’t find their rhythm and with aid from some questionable refereeing, we spent the majority of the game playing short handed. The kids ended up losing 6-1. They were sad to see their season end this way.
I have to say that I could not be any more impressed by the way the kids played and progressed this season!! It was an amazing time and every player should be very proud of their performance.
WEST HARTFORD BANTAM A STATE TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS!
The West Hartford Bantam A team started off their CHC Tier IV State tournament on February 28th in Cromwell, CT as the #3 seed out of 12 teams. The Wolves rattled off three consecutive victories in pool play, beating Watertown A1 5-1, Greenwich Skate A1 4-2, and the Whalers A 5-2 before advancing to the quarterfinals on Saturday night. That is when the tournament took a very unique turn. Only two of the evenings four scheduled games were able to be played as NO REFEREES had been scheduled for ANY of the evening games. The Wolves sat dressed and ready for 90 minutes before removing their gear, only to rush to put it back on moments later when referees finally had been confirmed. Despite the drama, the Wolves played well in a 4-0 rout of the Greenwich Blues, advancing to the semi-finals on Sunday.
The Wolves played Yale A for their semi-final game against whom they had a 1-1 record during the season. The Bulldogs swung an avalanche of momentum in their favor by storming back from a 3-1 third period deficit to take a 4-3 lead with nine minutes remaining. But the resilient Wolves fought back and a wicked snap shot from Keegan Bankoff from the blueline with traffic in front of the goalie tied the game up with eight minutes left. With four minutes remaining, Aiden Shaughnessy flicked an aerial pass to the front of the net where a streaking Aidan Adams swatted it out of mid-air and into the top corner to secure a 5-4 victory. The victory over Yale gave the Wolves a 5-0 tournament record and sent the Wolves to the Championship game, originally scheduled for Sunday night.
However, the Wolves would have to hibernate as the Championship was pushed back six days to allow the other quarterfinals and the semi-final to be played. As expected, ECHO A advanced to the Championship. ECHO was a formidable opponent, also 5-0 in the tournament and having beaten the Wolves in both regular season meetings.
On Saturday morning, March 9th, the puck finally dropped for the Championship game on the lower rink of Cromwell. Despite the location, it felt like a home game for the Wolves, as a large contingent of WHYHA fans packed the rafters. The game played out early as expected- ECHO is a well-coached, physical team not afraid to mix it up all over the ice in an effort to slow down their opponents. Coaches Miller and Roux knew this and had the boys ready. After a very early penalty kill, Owen Miller sent a pass to Griffin O’Shaughnessy, who started the scoring for the Wolves when his wrist shot trickled through the goaltender for an early 1-0 lead 5 minutes in. ECHO tied the game shortly thereafter on a deflection and then took a 2-1 lead on the power play with 2 minutes left in the first.
Despite being called for the first five penalties in the game, including a two-man disadvantage of over one minute, the Wolves kept grinding. After returning to even strength, Brian Fehl received a beautiful saucer pass from Luke Roux and made no mistake on the breakaway, tying the game at 2-2 early in the 2nd. The remainder of the second period was a penalty fest, as ECHO took four penalties and the Wolves two. Late in the 2nd, with the Wolves enjoying a four on three skater advantage, Sam Heller centered a pass to Aiden Shaughnessy who deflected the puck past the ECHO goalie for a 3-2 lead.
The 3rd period saw several scoring chances for both teams. The ECHO goalie was solid, but not as spectacular as Wolves goalie Luke Nordstrom, who stoned an ECHO forward on a clear breakaway with seven minutes left. The Wolves defense held strong for the remainder of the game, with Keegan Bankoff pinning the puck against the boards behind the Wolves net for the last ten seconds to seal the win, despite being pummeled by ECHO players desperate to pry it loose. As the buzzer sounded, the Wolves stormed the ice to celebrate their 3-2 victory!
For our second year Bantams (birth year 2004), this title capped a memorable six years of travel hockey with their first state Championship, including seven players who started together at the Squirt C level in 2013-14. For our first year Bantams (birth year 2005), this win meant back-to-back Tier IV State Championships, as they were Pee Wee champs in 2017-18.
Special thanks to Assistant Coach Steve Roux who came out of retirement to add his very valuable guidance and insight for the boys. Thanks also to Greg Russo for his on-ice support throughout the year, Carri Roux for scheduling, and Jess Fehl and Blake Ellavsky for Managing. It was a very pleasurable year with a great group of kids who learned a lot of life lessons along the way that will undoubtedly help them grow into respectful and responsible young men.
Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of it -- Head Coach Kevin Miller
2018-19 WHYHA BANTAM A CHAMPIONSHIP GAME ROSTER
4 Aidan Adams
8 Ryan Jainchill
12 Nikolai Ellavsky
16 Luke Roux
19 Shane Bradley
20 Keegan Bankoff
21 Ben Gerken
24 Gavin McGowan
27 Griffin O’Shaughnessy
29 Chris Russo
32 Luke Nordstrom
34 Aiden Shaughnessy
42 Sam Heller
62 Brian Fehl
68 Troy Griffith
91 Owen Miller
The Wolves Mite A squad traveled to Orleans, MA for their end of year tournament this past weekend. The team started the tournament play on Friday afternoon against a very talented and deep team from Hingham, MA. The team from Hingham seemed to be more comfortable with the regulation nets and were firing wrist shots high and hard and got up 8-2 in the first half. However, our kids played with a ton of grit and stuck to the game plan of passing the puck. Our team skated with the Hingham club evenly in the second half, but could not overcome the first half deficit. The game ended with a 14-8 loss. As a coach, it was nice to hear the opposing coaches comment that our team passed as well as any other team they had faced this past season and “expected to face us again later in the tournament”.
After a spirited team dinner on Friday night, the Wolves returned to the rink Saturday morning to match up against the Springfield Capitals. The kids all played outstanding and played a back and forth affair with several lead changes. Our team ended up getting up a few goals late and were able to hang on for a 12-11 win. The end of the game got very physical and our kids battled to the bitter end.
The Wolves took to the ice again Saturday afternoon against the host team, the Lower Cape Cod Coyotes. A win in the Wolves’ third game would give them a chance at playing in the finals. The Wolves came out skating hard and controlled the play with some tic-tac-toe passing. The kids played a great first half of hockey and led 8-4. However, the home team Coyotes rallied behind the home town fans and closed the gap to a one goal game at 8-7. The momentum of the game shifted dramatically after a Wolves goal that was initially (and rightfully) ruled a goal was then disallowed due to the pressure of the home town fans and coaches. During the confusion, a Coyotes player grabbed control of the puck and scored on a breakaway. Instead of a two goal lead, the Wolves found themselves tied with 3 minutes left. The game was chaotic and emotions were running high for the last few minutes and the Coyotes scored with 30 seconds left to win 11-10. It was a tough loss, particularly in a game where the Wolves’ team controlled the play for the majority of the game. Unfortunately, this loss ended their hopes of being in the tournament finals. The best part of coaching a team of 7 and 8 year olds is their ability to bounce back and quickly forget about a loss by going for a team swim in the hotel pool.
The Wolves Mite A team had an incredible season with many highlights, including two tournament victories earlier in the year. Most importantly, the team seemed to love playing with each other. As a coach, this was a special group of kids to watch grow throughout the season.
Well, tryouts have begun for the 2019-2020 season, which means it is time to schedule our uniform fittings. Hamden Sports Center will be doing our uniforms again. They will be at all of the fittings with sample sizes. Fittings are only for travel players. If your player is already playing travel and has a uniform that will fit them next season, you do NOT need to attend the fitting. The breakdown of what is included in a NEW travel player package is below. Any of the items under a la carte can be purchased at the fitting as well. So, for example, if your player just needs a new shell or set of socks, you must order them at this time. Our uniforms are completely custom and take several weeks, so that is why we have to order them this early. All payment is expected at the fittings- HSC accepts cash, check or credit card.
If you can NOT attend the fitting date, please reply to this email and let me know. All items ordered will be distributed in August at our annual Kick-off Event.
Best of luck to everyone at tryouts!!
Mites - March 13th from 6:00-8:00 PM
Squirts and Peewees - March 28th from 6:00-8:00 PM
Bantams - April 24th from 6:00-8:00 PM
Breakdown of what is included in a full uniform set (applies to first time travel players):
Tracksuit with name, number and Wolves logo
Wolves water bottle
Cost is $350. WHYHA pays $100, therefore player is responsible for $250.
**If first time travel player needs a red helmet, they will be given a 50% discount at fitting. Does not include a cage, but is a great deal!