Everyone arrives, unaware of what’s to come as we start loading the bus with everything we need, all the moms asking if we have our toothbrush and hockey equipment. Everyone answers with the same loud sigh and “yes, mum,” answer. Once everything was packed and we all got seated, the doors closed and the coolers opened and we were off.
At first it felt like the longest bus ride ever, but as the parents got louder and louder, the trip felt shorter and shorter with the movie also helping. With just one stop in Nobel on the way, we were there, at last!
We thought the wait was over, expecting to start our never-finished, N.H.L., 10-video game tournament right away, all forgetting about the dreaded wait that feels longer than the bus ride to get to our rooms. I hop off the bus, heading for my bags before I realize I packed my bag on the bus first, meaning I will get my bag off the bus last, making for even more of a wait.
Into our rooms we all went, excited about the rest of the weekend but all thinking about the low rating of the motel without a pool or anything, but right to ideas, we went outside for a game of tag and football. The team all ate out at Buzzy Brown’s and had a curfew so we were off to bed. The Super 8 motel was quickly growing on us, as we all liked the location, being next to a grocery store, Dollarama, Subway, Timmies and anything else Canadian you can think of… specifically the arenas, and since we were here for a tournament, those were most important.
The next day was the beginning of the hockey part of the tournament, playing against the home team, the Sudbury Bulldogs. You could tell they were the home team as the refs were clearly biased on their side, but we still won 5-1 with an easy win for the gang. With a while before our next game, we hung out around the motel starting our fun off with some lunch and a trip to the field where we played tag for another half hour. The days felt long so it was great. Then, there was the next game, against West Ferris Blades, a team from North Bay. Once again, easy, as we won 5-0 with not much of a challenge.
Time for another dinner. This time, most of the team ate at a sushi restaurant near the motel. The sushi was great with some of the team trying raw seafood for the first time. Everyone enjoyed it and talked about it for the rest of the night. We still had some time so a few of us from the team took a short walk to see what was around. After a few snowball fights and a stop at Tim Horton’s, we had gone in a circle and headed to our rooms to sleep before the morning game.
The next day, we had a game at 8:50 in the morning. We ate breakfast in the motel’s lobby with cereal, muffins, tea, juice and coffee for a quick “to-go” breakfast. Meeting at the bus at 6:45, we were not yet awake and it affected us, as we only won with a 3-2 score. It still put us in an easy win of first place in our division and a bye into the semifinals to play the Humber Valley Sharks. 9:30 that night, we played them and had yet another big win, but this one not quite as easy though still ending with a 5-0 score, and off to the finals. We were set.
The game was the next day so we had some time to hang around at the motel. Most of us ate at Buzzy Brown’s again since we loved it the first time. Others decided to eat at the motel or other places nearby.
Set to play the #1 ranked team in all of Ontario as ranked on myhockeyrankings.com. Despite their great record and #1 ranking, we were not worried and knew we could compete as we had tied them earlier 1-1 in another tournament. The day of the Finals against the Kenata Blazers, we were all pumped up to play the game of our lives with the chance to win it all and go to the international tournaments in Port Huron, Michigan in early January.
We all get checked out of our rooms and met in the lobby at around 12:00 for our 1:30 game. Once everyone was loaded up on the bus, we were all thinking, barely any talking had gone on. When we started heading off the bus at the arena, the parents all started clapping and cheering. We were pumped, ready to go on the ice right away, only to find out our game was two and a half hours behind. We lost our grittiness watching a few of the other finals but after warmup and dressing for 30 minutes, we got the talk. Coach Lewis, talking about his 25 years as head coach, and a great one he is, and yet he only has had the chance to go to the international tournament once, this being his second time in the finals. Talking about how you will throw away most of your trophies when you get older, but this one, we would keep. That was what got us pumped added with sprinting on the ice, we were all screaming, ready to knock the Blazers off their #1 throne. It was a great game played by everyone on the team. We got a 1-0 lead then later in the second period, we scored to make it 2-0. We went into the room between the 2nd and 3rd and once all rested, we ran on the ice to fight to victory to win it all! This one sending us to the international tournament in Port Huron, Michigan, with lots up for grabs.
We celebrated loudly with Kenata packing up and heading home. A feeling that once you get it, you can remember it clearly. Lots of pictures, hugs and high fives later, we were changed and ready for the trip back, knowing it would be great since we had won and not lost. We stopped at the same place in Nobel, the Wendy’s and Tim Horton’s. We were all loud on the ride back and every so often one player, most of the time me, would yell something to do with our big win. We are all ready for the next tournament on January 7th and we can’t wait to get there. See you in Michigan! For an update on the team’s Michigan record, check out the latest comments below.