Forty-one elementary school hockey teams gathered together at the Mohawk 4 Ice Centre on Wednesday (March 26) for the Daryl Mahler Memorial 3-on-3 tournament.
With almost 450 boys and girls participating in the one-day competition, the parking lot was jammed. It was a hectic environment inside the arena, too, but Cathedral High School hockey coach Jeff Toole was none-the-less pleased to be involved in helping to organize the event.
Toole, you see, was a first cousin of Daryl Mahler.
“Cathedral has won one championship in hockey and that was in 1979 when Daryl played and was one of the team’s four assistant captains,” said Toole, the Gaels hockey coach for the past 17 years.
Mahler also served as student council president at Cathedral. He went on to become a well-respected high school teacher and coach at St. Catharines Denis Morris before he died in a car accident in April 2009 at the age of 48.
“He was inspirational in getting me into hockey and physical education,” Toole said.
The 3-on-3 format saw each team play a minimum of four games on ice surfaces divided in half. Divisions were pre-determined based upon skill levels.
Games were 30 minutes in duration. Non-stop. Shift changes came every 60 seconds at the sound of a buzzer and rules called for at least one girl to be on the ice at all times.
“It was really fun and entertaining,” said Matthew Giannini of Stoney Creek’s St. Mark Lions, who won the Senior A division title with a 7-5 victory over the St. Ann Storm of Hamilton.
The score was tied 5-5 before St. Mark struck for a goal with eight minutes to play and another with 10 seconds showing on the clock.
A Grade 8 student who plays rep hockey at the Double A level, Giannini scored twice in the final. Singles went to Sara Andrews, Alex Jerome, Chris Garrett, Jason Horvat and Nathan Perreault.
“We’ve won this two times in a row,” said Giannini, referring to the Lions’ tournament victory last November. “It’s exciting. It’s a great sport to play.”
St. Mark coach Don Cameron says his school is fortunate to have an abundance of good athletes.
“They know their role and work hard as a team,” Cameron said. “We have players from Triple A to house league and everything in between.”
In the Senior B division, Our Lady of Peace took top honours with a 5-3 victory over St. Ann of Ancaster.
The Senior C crown went to Burlington’s Sacred Heart of Jesus. They prevailed in a shootout – 9-8 over St. Ann No. 2 of Ancaster.
In Junior A, St. Teresa of Avila topped Guardian Angels No. 2, by a score of 8-2.
St. Matthew of Binbrook skated away with the Junior B title, winning 10-5 over Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
The twice-a-year tournament run by Cathedral and the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board has grown from nine teams to 41.