There is a saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but in the hockey world of junior players, “It takes a community to raise a family.” The success of the 2016–17 Winter Hawks can be attributed to this very thing. It does take a community, and the involvement of individuals in that community, to create the family atmosphere that allows young men to evolve as players and grow in character.
For the Winter Hawks, it starts the individuals in Cambridge Hockey Operations who work tirelessly, not only during the hockey season, but throughout the year to find those individual players that they feel will gel and produce a successful team. That entails miles in the car as they travel from centre to centre, attending game after game watching for that player who stands out. They also spend hours on the phone negotiating with families and teams. Then, at the trade deadline, they have to make decisions that will affect individuals as well as the entire team — often this is the most difficult time.
The Winter Hawks are very proud of their coaching, medical, and equipment staffs. The time spent by the coaches going over tapes and systems, dealing with a myriad of personalities, going from one rink to the next, coming up with game plans for each of their opponents, preparing for practices and managing the roster, is relentless and often done for the love of hockey. Our medical and equipment staffs both have the same focus on their mind — the safety and welfare of our players. They often have to make difficult decisions when all a player wants to do is get back out there to play.
Volunteers are paramount in the success of a team, and the Winter Hawks’ volunteers are second to none. They give up their Saturday nights to help with game operations and security, work in the box office, sell merchandise and programs, and perform numerous other activities throughout a game including Chuck-A-Puck with Screech and our YNCU Shootout. In order to keep the community informed, we have our Pointstreak Operators, game announcers, videographer and photographers, Twitter operator, and of course, we cannot forget our anthem singers who officially open the games. For some, it goes well beyond Saturday as they work to market the team in the community and get the players involved in Cambridge functions.
We mustn’t forget our Corporate Sponsors that, year after year, provide financial support to the team and make it possible to ice a junior hockey team that the City of Cambridge can be proud of.
When the season comes to a close, the Cambridge Winter Hawks family can look back and be proud of their accomplishments. This year’s team:
- Had four players selected to play in the Top Prospects and All Star games: Matt MacKay, Holden Wale, Tristan DeJong, and Max Wright with Sean Ross was chosen as an alternate.
- Tripled its wins from last season, ending the year with 60 points and a berth in the playoffs— just one point short of fourth place and within reach of third.
- Coach Dan Fitzgerald was named the GOJHL Midwestern Conference Coach of the Year. He worked with a topnotch coaching staff of Associate Coach Adam Wallace, Assistant Coach Brandon Shaw, and Goalie Coach Zach Grasley.
- Jordan Oshowy (#6), was awarded the GOJHL Midwestern Conference Defenceman of the Year, along with a place on the 1st All-Star Team.
- Ryan Shaw (#12), Cambridge’s top scorer, was named to the 2nd All-Star Team.
- Off the ice, the boys participated in MADD Waterloo Region, visited schools, and volunteered their time with the Galt Minor Hockey School as well as Cambridge and Hespeler Minor Hockey. They spent an evening as servers at the Lonestar Texas Grill to raise funds for The Darling Home for Kids in memory of a dear fan who passed away. Always eager to help out, the boys represent the team well.
Without all this, we would just be a hockey team, but instead we are a family that players, both past and present, speak highly of. It does indeed take a community to raise a hockey family!
If you want to become a member of our family, then check out what we have to offer on our website www.cambridgewinterhawks.ca or look for us on Facebook. If you want an opportunity to play for the Winter Hawks, check out our Spring Prospects camp on May 6 – 7. Information and applications can be found on our website.