Leaside Flames Atom Red Selects put the exclamation mark on an undefeated season on April 12 during the North York Hockey League, Tier 1 championship final.
In their final game against George Bell Titans Navy the team comprising 10- and 11-year-olds won 5-1, garnering the required four points in a series to win the Tier 1 title.
Even better is the team went undefeated the entire year, with 22 wins and four ties, which put a target on the squad’s back.
But they relished the tenacity of their opponents.
“We had a pretty special year with this group of kids, and everybody in the association, at least on the Leaside side, were quite impressed with the exploits, not only with the championship but with going undefeated,” said team manager David Thomson in a phone interview late in April.
The Flames got to the final by eliminating Forest Hill Falcons in the semifinals, and the first team to four points would be named the NYHL champion.
But it was no easy task for the Flames, as they squeaked by in game 1 with 1-0 victory, and in game 2 were forced to settle for a 2-2 tie.
“What we realized is that George Bell was a very good team,” Thomson said. “We hadn’t played them that often during the regular season and they came gunning.
“We had to work pretty hard in those first two games, and I think we really wanted it in game 3.”
The drive required to go all the way stems from last year’s result, when they lost in the finals, said coach Matt Angus.
“Last year they made it to the finals but lost in the deciding game of the series,” he said. “This group with a few changes were able to build on that into this season and ended up a charmed group of boys that never ended up being defeated.”
Very few changes to the personnel were made, with three new faces being added to the mix.
Angus will be back to coach the same team next season as they make their progression to the minor peewee level.
“I expect we’ll be strong again,” Angus said.
The winning roster includes Ethan Angus, Patrick Burns, William Christodoulis, Nicholas Delyannis, Ricardo Dimitropoulos, Henri Dufour, Robert Ferguson, Benjamin Hannah, Thomson Huot, Ethan Leckie, Jason Piotrowski, Thomas Snider, Jack Sparkes, Callum Thomson, James Wilson and Jared Wontorra.
The bench featured Angus as coach, Thomson as manager, assistants Jim Christodoulis and Mike Piotrowski as well as trainer Paul Burns.