Sunday was a beautiful spring afternoon, and for the 68th time this year, the Minor Pee Wee AE players and coaches gathered together in the center of a dressing room.   Shoulder to shoulder we crowd in, and await final words from defencemen Jacques Gross.

Who are we?’ he yells.

ANCASTER’, we respond in deafening unison.

It was 10 months ago that this group of 11 year old boys was first assembled.  They were chosen for their heart, their determination and their grit.  Each one of them bringing with them a desire and a passion for the game of hockey.

Michael Arth: fearless in his desire to win the battle; in the corners, in open-ice, wherever the opponent stands between him and the puck.

Liam Coffen: with cat-like speed he jumps into the rush but only when it make sense, cause he knows his primary job is to stop the advancement.

Andrew DeGroot: he takes on the opponent no matter their size…in the end, Andrew knows he’ll be the one left standing.

Quentin DiBenedetto: he’ll taunt the shooter by giving him lots of room on the glove side, then take it away with his Golden Glove.

Dylan Dobbs: willing to let the opponent get close to him, before sticking out the long arm of the law and send the puck and the man out of harms way.

Marcus Earls: he smiles and then delivers a punishing check…somewhere along the way he’s developed a mean-streak…and he loves it.

Jacques Gross: The swing man…equally at home on forward and on defence.

It’s Game 4 and we have a chance to close it out at home.  30 seconds prior to hitting the ice Jacque’s got us…captivated…we wait on his every word.

What are we?’ Gross taunts.

AVALANCHE’, we shout back.

Matthew Kong: blocker side, glove side, high, low…shoot anywhere you want…it’s not going to penetrate the Wall.

Connor Lalonde: very few get by him, and those that do…pay…he’ll hunt them and take them down.

Cameron Lavell: penalty-killing expert, goal scoring machine, new master of the slapshot.

Angus MacDonald: unorthodox, unpredictable, unstoppable…the hands and feet of a superstar

Callum MacDonald: you name it, he does it…penalty-killer, offensive threat, team leader

Aidan McKague: rock steady, he’s learned the position and can’t wait for his opponent to test him

The first 3 games of the series have ended in 1-0 scores. All games have been won in the opponents arena.  We huddle in even closer, the sound of the zamboni exiting the arena in the background.

 ‘What stops an Avalanche?’ Gross screams.

NOTHING’, we scream back.

Kieren Shannon: a quick shot, a sniper ready and waiting for the goalie to make the wrong move

Jacob Stampfli: in the big games, the big guns step up…he loves those games, and his stick is always fully loaded and ready for assault

Hugh Workman: soft-hands, he moves with ease through the defence and snipes at will

Akshay Yusuf: hit him, cross-check him…he doesn’t mind…he loves it, and he’s happy to give you some of the same.

As we break to grab sticks, water bottles, and pucks, one last question from Gross…

What are we gonna give?

The answer…the only one they know…‘EFFORT’.

The door bursts open and all 17 bolt onto the awaiting ice…they have challenge to tackle.

60 minutes later we return…the players, tired and weary, are dripping with sweat and enthusiasm… they’re exhausted…and they should be…they just won the game and have been crowned 2012 Tri-County Champions.

As we settle in Gross looks for final confirmation…‘What stops an Avalanche?

NOTHING’, we shout back…’NOTHING’…

The team would like to thank everyone for their support, especially all our generous sponsors including, with special thanks to our main sponsor ‘Hair by Nature of Ancaster’.

*Story Submitted by Mike Earls, Head Coach, Ancaster Minor PeeWee AE Avalanche