The Conclussion

After eliminating the Pelham Panthers, the Head Coach of the St. Catharines Falcons, Tyler Bielby, mentioned to BPSN, that ‘There is nothing harder than sending home a 20-year-old. When the final buzzer rang, I looked at their Captain Jason Gee, and it was obvious how much the game means to him.’

That’s understandable and relatable.

The Welland Jr. Canadians entered the Mountain Arena, on the brink of elimination. That is no easy undertaking when up against a league favourite, like the Hamilton Kilty B’s. With around ten minutes remaining in regulation, I happened to walk past Jr. Canadians Captain Peter Spameni, who suffered an upper-body injury, about two weeks before the postseason commenced. Knowing this would be his final junior hockey game, he wanted nothing more than to be on the ice. He values hockey as a sport greatly, and cares deeply about the Jr. Canadians as a group.

The most memorable players in junior hockey are the ones who live and die with their organization. Spameni is a Jr. Canadian to his core. A trait shared amongst all of our graduating players. Up until the final buzzer, Brady Afelskie was all over the ice, blocking shots and putting in a full effort. Cody Miskolczi, Kevin Gould and Adam Clark, all agreed to spend their final season of junior eligibility with the Jr. Canadians, understanding that this season would likely be a rebuild. Established players in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL), and leaders on their former teams, wanted to be a part of the Jr. Canadians. Something that speaks to our family-like culture and the people involved with the organization. Luca Marandola joined us, at the trade deadline, providing depth and an oomph to our forward group. Every player mentioned in this paragraph brought stability and character to our locker room, and that’s difficult to find.

These were the players who led our squad through each battle. This playoff series, the Jr. Canadians dealt with a magnitude of unfortunate circumstances, between illnesses and injuries to important. Yet, the team wasn’t willing to backdown. That compliments all of the lovely peaks achieved this season, like winning our first playoff game since 2016, and beating Hamilton since 2018.

But what transpired off the ice, following last night’s loss, is what truly makes this group special. Usually, after the Jr. Canadians season ends, hugs and handshakes are exchanged around the dressing room, between the players and the coaching staff. But, last night, the players made a point to thank the volunteers and fans, in attendance. Something that has never happened before. The relationships created thanks to this lovely sport can never be taken for granted.

Thanks to our bench staff, volunteers, sponsors and billets. The organization does not run without any of those components. Thanks to our fans, who bring the energy, week-after-week. We hear you and we thank you. September isn’t too far away. In the meantime, there is content to post and news to announce. Also, consider visiting one of our counterparts – the Welland Generals and the Welland Jackfish.