Way back on August 27, 2016, the Bantam BB team hit the ice for the first time together. This team of coaches, players and families had a distinct picture of what success was going to look like and how it was going to be achieved. Success was not only something that was going to be accomplished on the ice and on the scoreboard… it was the coming together of this group, the bonding of a team and the commitment to working hard and truly exemplifying the concept of “Together Everyone Achieves More”.
A couple of early tournament wins helped instill the fact that these girls could and would compete with the very best in their division. Add to the mix well planned and well executed practices, committed players and coaches, a highly successful regular season, a silver performance at Silver Stick, off-ice conditioning and of course team parties and bonding experiences. This all led to league playoffs where these girls were flawless… three series, three sweeps, and the opportunity to represent the West at Championship Weekend with the best of the best. A fourth place finish at this tournament of champions was nothing to be ashamed of, yet not the result our competitive minded athletes were looking for. But like any good group of strong competitors, defeat was not a source of discouragement but rather a new stimulus to compete even harder the following weekend on the Provincial stage!
Provincials. The opportunity to play against the best teams in Ontario. We came with gold on the brain. Mississauga, Aurora and Lake of Woods were our competition in round robin and challenged our team in tight games. We prevailed with three wins and a bye to the quarter finals. Coach Archie told the girls after our final round robin game that it was going to be wins from here on out. It wasn’t an option, it was a frame of mind and a belief that we could and we would. We faced off against league rivals, Woodstock Wildcats in the quarter finals. After splitting the season with this team, it was evident from puck drop that we were ‘bringing the heat’ and had every intention of coming out on top. A 3-0 victory sent us to the semi-final round versus the incredibly strong Timmins Falcons. Timmins got on the scoreboard early but the Heat battled back, tying things up. With only 42 seconds to play in this battle, the Heat found the back of the net once again and the crowd erupted. Coaching strategy, hard work and desire got the team through those final 42 seconds and text messages went flying out of Fletcher Arena telling everyone we were GOING FOR GOLD!
A strong Ancaster Avalanche team would square up with the Huron Heat to determine who was going to come out champions. The team plastered the room with motivational posters, music blared, fans paced with anticipation and coaches kept the girls focused. This was it. The puck dropped and these teams battled for three intense periods of play, leaving the game scoreless after regulation. Overtime. These young ladies and their amazing coaches kept strategizing, giving it their absolute best – between the pipes and end to end. Just over two minutes into overtime, it happened… WE SCORED! The Huron Heat Bantam BB team had achieved their goal – the title of Provincial Champions and more importantly, the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it!
Thank you to our incredible bench and team staff, amazingly supportive families, our loud and proud Huron Heat fans who supported us all year, and most of all, thank you to each and every talented, hard-working player who believed way back in August that this was possible and did everything to achieve this momentous goal. Congratulations!