This past weekend the Ravens hosted the Barrie Colts for games 3 and 4 of their OMHA final series. The Ravens would force a game four by staving off elimination in a hard fought 2-1 victory on Saturday. Looking to force a deciding game 5 the Ravens would struggle in game 4 against a Barrie team running on all cylinders. Unfortunately the Ravens would drop this series 6 points to 2 to end their season. While disappointed, every player knew they had given their all for the entire playdowns and had played some exceptional hockey.
This Raven’s team would begin the season with some new faces as well as players in unfamiliar positions yet they would go undefeated in their first tournament with a tremendous comeback versus Riverside in the Essex Earlybird Tournament. They would lose in the semi-finals of Silverstick a month later all the while gaining experience that would serve them well later in the season. In November they would travel to Michigan to participate in the Nation’s Cup tournament. An undefeated record would ensure the Canadian victory! As the calendar flipped to 2018 the Ravens would embark on their playdown journey and what a journey it would be. A two game play-in versus Amherstburg, a game five shutout victory over Riverside, a sweep of St. Thomas, a game five victory over Grimsby, a hard fought series win over Woolwich and a four game battle versus eventual champs Barrie. A 14-8-2 playdown record! Wonderful trips down the 401 to play towns all over Ontario! This season was not a failure – this season was an unprecedented success. The little team that could – did. These kids believed in themselves. The coaches believed in the kids.
A very special thank you goes out to the unbelievable coaching staff of Jack Weston, Joe Diemer, Al Fuerth, Jeff Sadler and Craig Cavanagh. It is very rare for a team to be blessed with coaches that have the dedication of this coaching staff and that care about the kids as much as this coaching staff. Thank you for your countless hours of service and the role models you are to our kids – simple words fail to properly express the gratitude of all the parents.
To the players, be proud of your accomplishments both on and off the ice. Be proud of how you represented Essex a fact noticed by several teams faced in playdowns. For generations kids have donned the jersey with “Essex” on the front. Playing for your town is important and will be something the players remember all their lives. So for those that are family or friends of the following players please congratulate them on their success as there’s not a more deserving bunch of kids out there.
Congratulations to #1 Aiden Fick, #3 Ethan O’Neil, #4 Meredith Coulter, #5 Jaclyn Weston, #7 Andrew Baker, #8 Sean Wilson, #10 Noah Martin, #11 Cole Grant, #12 Hudson Diemer, #13 Ben Fuerth, #14 Jesse Chadwick, #15 Caleb Cavanagh, # 16 Braeden Cavanagh, #17 Cade Smith, #18 Mason Ginter, #19 Owen Sadler and #30 Reed VanderVecht. You all have done yourselves proud!
To say this season was a failure because the championship wasn’t won is a failure to grasp the true meaning of sports. You often hear the negatives of organized sports, particularly hockey. Well this team exemplifies everything that is good about sports. The kids have learned hockey skills, no doubt. However they have also learned to support one another, to build friendships with kids they never knew before, to win and lose graciously and always keep trying. These skills are great for a hockey team but even better to develop a young child. To all the players, have an enjoyable summer and we’ll do it again next fall!!