33 years ago today, my St. Pete’s team headed off to OFSSA in Toronto. I was a grade 10 and played very little that year. We had a core of very strong older players where our best five on the ice were as good as the same best five from any team in the tournament. However, we didn’t have the depths with something like ten grade 10 players.
Still, it was a pretty cool atmosphere to be a part of, with me never having really played at a level higher than house league. We beat the Fort Frances Muskies in our Thursday game to advance to the semi’s on Friday night.
Our Friday night game was to be played at St. Mike’s arena, a little bit of a hockey shrine in its own right. We played the Henry Carr Crusaders whose 51-3-3 record on the season was impressive no matter how you looked at. The sported some high profile players – Pat Flatley, the future NHL’er and captain of the New York Islanders and Paul Higgins who would have a short career with the Leafs as an enforcer.
We were no slouch though and sported a 38-5-2 record. Henry Carr had beat us in the finals of the David Bauer tournament in the prior November. I didn’t play a single shift in the first game but played a couple of shifts in the Friday night game and remember being crazy nervous. It was an NHL moment to me. As the third period opened, we scored an early goal to make it a 5-3 game and at that point, it was one of those “you never know?” moments.
It didn’t last. They scored a cheap one on us shortly thereafter and it was all down hill from there.