Keeping the legacy alive

SPORTS IS NUMBER ONE: Varsity boys hockey captain, Dylan Ciccarelli, was a big role player on the team this year. Even though the Black Knights lost in the South Region semis, Ciccarelli said he felt he was a part of something bigger.

Hockey crew knows it’s a privilege, not a right to make the cut

Another page has turned in the annals of Malvern CI hockey, and the Black Knights are pleased with the chapter they’ve written for 2012.

After losing the South Region semis 3-1 to Humberside, Feb. 28, coach Brian Spanton took a moment to reflect on a year of surprises.

“There was a total ‘team first’ ethos on the whole team,” he said. “There were no egos and one place we thought we may have some questions was goaltending and our goaltender was terrific, Bolton Kirkof.”

The Black Knights lost a chunk of their experience to graduation, but the youth movement reached its peak when the squad beat last year’s OFSAA champions Brother Andre at the Oliver Mowat tournament.

“I think what happened was we just started looking at each other, the coaching staff, thinking, ‘Maybe we’re better than we thought?’ ” Spanton said.

By the end of the regular season the team had a 6-0-2 record and was tied with North Toronto for top spot in the South.

Spanton directed his attention to his captain, Dylan Ciccarelli, as the one who led the team through its transition.

“We really enjoyed having him around because he is a testament to the program we’re trying to run: school comes first, but very dedicated to the hockey program,” Spanton said.

Work ethic is the most important part of being a Black Knight.

“Even though we might not have had the most skilled team out there, always come to work and you get the win,” Ciccarelli said.

The 18-year-old defenceman sees it in his on-ice partner Will McLean, a grade 9 who is expected to become an anchor on the team’s blueline.

For players new and old, the coaching staff encourages them to look at the photo that hangs outside the athletic director’s office at Malvern. It’s a picture of the school’s 1955 city championship team, taken at Maple Leaf Gardens.

That black and white imprint motivates those donning the black and red.

“I think it makes us feel like we’re part of something bigger than just the season,” Ciccarelli said. “Really it’s a legacy, hockey at Malvern, and it’s always a team that’s done well and has been supported by the community.

“It’s that sense of history you have with putting on the jersey at Malvern, and it makes you work that little bit harder.”

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