There were many outstanding athletes throughout the world that excelled and ultimately became the greatest players in their respective sports. They are highly revered and formally recognized for their skills and career accomplishments.
They are the standard by whom all others are measured.
Ball hockey, a fun and relatively unstructured activity played by children with little or no equipment on neighborhood streets, began to establish itself as a viable sport organization in the middle 1970’s. There were thousands of players, who all graduated from the rough asphalt surfaces to smooth concrete arena floors, that helped to foster the growth and development of the game into a formal association with a governing body and championship competition at all levels of participation.
There were some among those pioneers of the pavement whose skill, achievements and longevity in the game placed them in a class all by themselves at the Junior level of competition….
On the street, ball hockey’s most ostensible offenders were indeed as unique, skilled and accomplished as the aforementioned heroes who played on frozen pads, only they wore sneakers and had to earn every inch of paved real estate on foot throughout their life span in ball hockey Nationally and today we recognize those players.
The goaltenders are represented by the finest ball stoppers that the game has ever seen in Kevin Bailie (ON - Belleville Bulls), Aaron Chopee (ON - Oshawa Stampede), David Di Gironimo (ON - Vaughan Jets), Ira Terefenko (AL - Edmonton Extreme) and Brian Valentine (ON – Penetanguishene Blazers). They were the foundation and played an integral part in the success and achievements of their teams throughout the years.
These defenders stood tall on the floating blue line in the nation over the past thirty years. Paulo Colaiacovo (ON - Toronto Jaguars), Ryan Gieseler (ON - Penetang Blazers), Jeff Gignac (ON - Penetang Blazers), Spencer Irving (ON - Belleville Bulls), Phil Moore (NS - Selects), Patrick O’Keefe (NL - Newfoundland Stars), Justin Pender (NL - Newfoundland Stars), Jagpal Sandhu (BC - West Coast Express), Stephen Tonowski (EAL - Edmonton Blues) and Dylan Smith (BC - West Coast Express).
The Fabulous Forwards
When one considers the foray of fabulous forwards that ‘skiddadled’ into the neutral zone and ‘knifed their way over the blue line’ before letting go of a ‘cannonating drive’ on net, there was a special group of players that comes to mind.
The most outstanding forwards in junior ball hockey over the past 30 years are:
Tony Brar (AL - Edmonton Selects), Scott Brophy (NL - Newfoundland Stars), Greg Chambers (ON - Toronto Jaguars), Carlo Colaiacovo (ON - Toronto Jaguars), Matt Cooke (ON - Belleville Bulls), Tyler Ennis (AL - Edmonton Avalanche), Benoit Gilbert (QU - Montreal Selects), Gus Kourousis (ON - Toronto Barons), Sandro Mignosa (ON - Vaughan Hurricanes), Teddy Purcell (NL - Newfoundland Stars), Kevin Peel (AL - Edmonton Avalanche), Andrew Shaw (ON - Belleville Bulls), Wayne Shears (ON - Toronto Blues), Robert Slaney (NL - Newfoundland Stars) and Jared Spurgeon (AL - Edmonton Avalanche)
Congratulations to the Top 30 players of the past thirty years in Junior ball hockey across Canada.