Originating back in the late 50’s, the Silver Stick Tournament is one of the most difficult tournaments in which to compete. The finest hockey teams from across North America make the trip to test themselves, and this year the 2001 Minor Bantam Toronto Marlboros won!
As explained on their website, Silver Stick Hockey Tournament was the brainchild of Mr. Jack Kinsella. Jack got the idea while attending a friendly exhibition game in Potsdam, New York between the Bantam Woodroffe Cardinals from Ottawa West and the Bantam Potsdam Golden Knights in November, 1956. After watching his son play for Woodroffe, Jack Kinsella decided a return match should be setup to promote the game and foster “goodwill” between the two countries. There was little ice available in Ottawa so Jack looked to Richmond, Ontario, just west of Ottawa. Richmond had one of the very few indoor rinks at that time.
The philosophy behind the effort was to help the boys develop “Citizenship and International Goodwill through hockey”. Ernie Temple, a coach in the Richmond Minor Hockey Association wanted to test the idea with Jack Kinsella. They organized two games to be played in the Richmond, Ontario arena on February 6, 1958. The games featured the Woodroffe Bantams and the Richmond Peewees playing their counterparts from Potsdam, New York. The games were sold out and the enthusiasm of the fans was high, despite the winning efforts of Potsdam who took both games. This proved that the concept was a successful one and paved the way for the first Silver Stick hockey tournament.
The first full tournament was held in February of 1958 and was based on a four game total points system. Bantam and Peewee teams from both Potsdam, New York and South Carleton, Ontario (an all-star team made up of players from the Richmond area) each played in a two game, home and home series. The teams from Potsdam won 5 points to 3 thus crowning them as the first International Silver Stick champions. The success of this first tournament led to a gradual expansion of International Silver Stick Hockey and its philosophy in Canada, the United States, and even into Canadian Forces Bases in Europe. Jack Kinsella’s only hope was that everyone who participated, regardless of the outcome, would adopt the philosophy of “Citizenship and International Goodwill through hockey”.
It was said that the attendance of so many highly ranked Canadian and American teams made “this year’s Silver Stick feature the greatest lineup of any previous tournament!”. Indeed, this tournament included virtually all of the top ten teams from Ontario and the US.
For the Marlboros, the event began with a two team practice, where the #1 ranked Boston Minutemen joined the team for a truly memorable event! Players, coaches and parents alike loved the opportunity to create a great rapport and to share in a mutual love of hockey and international friendship in keeping with the Silver Stick philosophy!
With their success, the Minor Bantam team became only the fourth Marlboro team in this division to win the Silver Stick in the last forty years. And the team did it with only six regular forwards, but with the significant contribution of our AP players. The Marlboros came fourth after the round robin with three wins and one tie. In the quarter finals they faced an Ottawa Jr. Senators who had also won their division. After a hard fought game, the Marlboros prevailed four to one. Next, the Marlboros would take on the host Whitby Wildcats who had impressed through the round robin. The Marlboros shut them out three to zero. In the finals, the Marlboros would play a very skilled and hard-working Chicago Mission team. The Marlboros got into early penalty trouble, giving up a goal on a five on three in the first minute of the game. The team would rally, however, and fight hard to tie it up in the second period. After a scoreless third, the two tired teams moved into a 10 minute overtime period. Finally, a point shot would seal the win for the Marlboros!
It took a total team effort all weekend long from all of the players to win this special tournament. This is the second Silver Stick win for the 2001 team, having previously won at the Atom age. Throughout the tournament, the team displayed a very determined work ethic, excellent body-management (due to the high number of games played) and an exacting mental discipline. The icing on the cake was the exciting overtime win!