Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Congratulations Pelham Panthers!

What a great weekend of hockey in Pelham!

You see, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Pelham’s Atom teams –both Rep. and AE (alternative entry) – hosted teams from Napanee and Collingwood at the Pelham arena. Pelham’s talented and hardworking players on both Teams have stickhandled their way through a succession of playoffs to advance to the Provincial Finals!

On March 18, the AE team -- sporting a short-handed line-up – lost their first game of the finals in Collingwood. But, with both willpower and skill they won game two in Collingwood on Friday, and game three – to a revved-up hometown crown – o n Saturday.

In game four on Sunday afternoon, the AE team beat the Collingwood Blackhawks and won Ontario Minor Hockey Association finals for their divisions! Congratulations! They played as a team and they won as a team!

I understand that the Team had more than 3,600 minutes of ice time for practices, skills training, and games. What an investment from the Coaches, parents, and players!

The Atom Rep. team also lost their first game on the road and during March break. But, they came back strong on Friday and had a great win in Pelham. Back in Napanee on Saturday, they lost a close game. But, they gained it all back on Sunday with a decisive four-to-two victory in Pelham.

The “first to six points” series is now tied at four points each. One win could mean an overall victory. The Rep. Team plays on this upcoming Friday in Napanee – and I wish them the best of luck! (If needed, game six could be held in Pelham next Sunday at 2:30 PM.)

Each of the games this weekend was fast and the play was tremendous. Each Panther team showed exceptional skill. Clearly, not only have they worked very hard individually and as a team, but they also have received great coaching this year and in previous years.

You could see everyone playing to the best of their ability. The only things that mattered on the ice were their skills, their training, and their hard work.

These series did prompt discussion at our March 19 Council meeting. While we waived the fees for use of the Arena’s Community Hall, we also asked staff to work together with Pelham’s sport associations to develop a protocol to make it easier for Teams to promote Pelham’s hospitality when future “Panthers” make it to Provincial championships.

Go Panthers Go!