Thea - The Golden Girl on Skates
What a day - if your name is Theadora (call me Thea) Imbrogno.
If I was principal at St. Basil The Great high school, yes that small Catholic school in northwest Toronto, I might want to consider changing the name of the school - just for a day - to Thea The Great.
Yes, I have bragged about this teenage athlete in blogs and featured her as an athlete of the week and a two-time Toronto Star high school hockey all-star. All of it deserving.
So, what does she do on her final day as a high school hockey player?
How about two overtime goals in sudden-death games - at the provincial playoffs in Richmond, just outside Ottawa. First, the goal that knocked out Bishop Tonnos of Ancaster in the semifinals - 3-2 - in OT. Then, in the gold medal game for all the marbles - an OT goal in a 2-1 win over Oshawa's Monsignor Paul Dwyer.
Result: second consecutive provincial gold medal for her school and for her. Something that has never been done before by a Toronto high school girls' hockey team. Well done, Thea - and teammates. Oh yes, she's off to Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh on a scholarship.
Easily, the most exciting female teenage hockey player to watch on skates in this city. And now, the rest of the province got to see her. More coming on her in the future. I'm not a gambling guy, but this time I just might go as far as to say she'll be wearing red and white one day for Canada.
Yes, I am in St. Catharines catching up on the boys' playoffs. Last year, with Orillia hosting the girls and North Bay the boys, I was able to get to both finals. But this time, the people organizing these provincial playoffs scheduled them all at the same time ...well....just a bit too far.
Some very good hockey out here in the Niagara belt. But first, for all those people - and there are many who just can't stand the private schools competing with everyone else - you must be very happy. The Toronto tandem of St. Michael's and Upper Canada lost in the triple/quad-A playoffs and Appleby, top-ranked, was eliminated in the single/double-A playoffs. St. Mike's went out with a bang, taking the host Denis Morris team from this city to OT and losing on a penalty shot. Ouch.
I, like many more hockey fans, have enjoyed watching the private schools compete - and, I say again, why not? They are bonafide schools in this province and abide by all the necessary rules. I say let the kids play. Get over the jealousy. Private schools are not dominating in every school sport. As for hockey, check out the best high Ontario high school hockey gold medal games. Save the time, I saw them - and they involve private or independent schools.
Friday, down to the Final Four. Top-ranked and undefeated St. Marcellinus of Mississauga meets St. Mary of Pickering. Denis Morris meets Orangeville in the other sudden death game. Final is at 8 p.m. at this marvellous facility - the Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre.