Winning two hockey tournament titles, two hours apart, is a rare feat
Playing on two championship teams in one day at the same hockey tournament makes my boy one in 1,300.
The Toronto Penguins club, which has 16 teams in the GTHL, held its annual Winter Classic hockey tournament this past weekend, with 77 teams at the A and AA levels in it from Ontario and New York state.
My boy Jackson plays defence for the Penguins minor bantam (born in 1999) AA squad, which is tearing up the GTHL’s east division this season, with 22 wins, one loss and three ties so far. They’ve beaten every one of the other 14 teams in their division with speed, skill and scoring.
He’s also a frequent call-up player to the Penguins bantam (born in 1998) A team, which plays rock ‘em, sock ‘em hockey and is in the middle of the pack in their division.
Jackson, who’s bigger and stronger than most kids his age, likes to mix it up with the older boys and can handle the action.
All the Penguin teams were in the tournament and played in at least three games in about 36 hours, and a fourth on Sunday, if they reached the final.
Our AA team was heavily favored and did not disappoint, beating their arch-rivals, North Toronto, 4-0 for the gold medal, in a game that ended at 3 p.m. Sunday.
The bantam A team was playing for the gold in their group an hour later at the Westwood arena and were missing two players – one for a suspension and another with a broken wrist – which opened up a spot for a call-up player.
Jackson, who’d just finished his game, was asked if he could help out. He loves to play and hates to say no, so he kept his sweaty equipment on and walked down the hall to the bantam dressing room for round two.
They were beaten for a goal early and down 3-0 to the NobleKing Knights, from Nobleton, in the second period. The Knights were all over them and it was looking grim.
All of a sudden, wham, bam! Two quick goals and the Penguins were back in it.
They started taking the game to the Knights, potted another in the third and went into overtime tied 3-3, before winning it on a beautiful, two-on-one passing play.
For the second time in two hours, Jackson lined up to receive a championship medal.
It made me wonder how many other kids, if any, had won all the marbles twice in the same tournament, so I went to the team office at Westwood and asked the organizers if they were aware of a similar situation.
They said there was a small chance that a kid may have played for two teams on a call-up basis in the tournament, but they were sure that nobody else played for two that both won their group. In fact they’d never heard of anything like it.
With an average roster size of 17 players, about 1,300 kids played in the tournament, but only one got two gold medals.
For a hockey dad, you couldn’t ask for more.