Champions: 2001 Toronto Marlboros!
Goals were set and expectations were high for this tournament. There were a number of known variables, teams the Marlboros were familiar with, yet, there were a well-defined set of “unknowns,” namely, the teams that the Marlboros had yet to face! After the last GTHL game, before Christmas, Coach Gialedakis called the team together to strategize for the upcoming tournament.
“I want to see a team contribution where everyone gets points. I want to see our goalies protected. I want to see our systems, systems that we have worked on all year, put into place, and I want to see you sticking with those systems. That is the plan, and to win this tournament, we absolutely have to stick with the plan!”
Unreasonable demands? Too much pressure? The rantings and ravings of a far-too-demanding coach?
Let the results speak for themselves!
Through out the tournament, all 15 players emerged with points!
In the final game, 6 different players scored.
The goaltending was outstanding!
On-ice communication between players was evident thoughout!
Team systems taught in practice were used, and executed in each game!
The Marlboros were relentless in each of their games!
This was a total team victory!
From the Coaches point of view, this was a team-earned championship! No one single player dominated, but every single player contributed to the best of his ability, and when asked to place his trust in his fellow team mates, that trust was highly evident throughout. The basis of this bond of trust, coupled with a very high set of expectations that were clearly laid out before the tournament, lead to a victory on the ice, and a moral validation for placing such a strong and unyielding belief in the systems taught.
Were the expectations too high? Was the pressure too much? Just ask any of the other teams in the tournament if they would like to trade place with the Marlboros, as they hoisted the championship cup above their heads? During the trophy presentation, the families were allowed on the ice to take photos with the team and with this highly prestigious trophy. Ask any of the other players from the other teams if they wouldn’t give anything to see their Moms, Dads, Sisters, Brothers, and their relatives, holding that trophy above their heads, sharing in those precious moments of victory, and sharing the smiles of their sons whom had just emerged as tournament champions!
This was a hard fought victory and a truly great way to conclude the first half of the 2013-2014, 2001 Toronto Marlboros season!
Here are the results of the tournament:
Marlboros 4 Vaughna Kings 1 A steady barrage of pressure wore down their opponents to secure this victory.
Marlboros 3 Ottawa Valley Titans 0 Great forechecking and neutral zone play resulted in another shut out for the Marlboros.
Marlboros 2 Whitby Wildcats 3 This overtime loss to a team we had not seen this year, was a hard fought battle throughout the game, that could have went to either team.
Marlboros 4 Mississauga Senators 2 Relentless zone control and great team systems play resulted in this “end of the round robin” game leading the Marlboros into the finals.
Marlboros 3 New Jersey Colonials 1 This first round quarter final playoff saw the Marlboros go up against a highly ranked team from the USA, which saw extraordinary puck control and complete domination from the beginning to the end of the game.
Marlboros 5 Vaughan Kings 2 This semi final game saw the Marlboros play the Vaughan Kings for a third time within two weeks. Both teams were very aware of each other, but the depth of the Marlboros systems and great team chemistry saw the Marlboros score this particularly sweet hat trick of victories.
Marlboros 6 Mississauga Reps 3 This was it… the championship game! The media was there, the arena was packed, expectations were high on both benches and for the first two periods, although the Marlboros dominated, the Mississauga Reps lead 3-2. During the intermission between periods 2 and 3, Coach Gialedakis reminded the team what it was that got them to this point. He reminded them to stick with the game plan, believe in themselves, and most important: Believe in each other
It was during the third period that everything came together for the Marlboros! The Marlboros came out “hot,” and scored four unanswered goals, to defeat the Mississauga Reps and emerge victorious as the Champions of the Bauer Peewee Challenge International Tournament.