2014 was the year that would see minor ball hockey change throughout the world. The World Ball Hockey Federation (WBHF) announced that they would host the U20 and U18 championships in Budapest, Hungary.
With past experience at the international level of play the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada would see its Junior Team Canada (JTC) spearheaded by Stephen Dockerty took on the position as High Performance Director, a decision that would see the start of an exciting new program that younger age ball hockey players could experience many years.
Dockerty’s first step was to work with Steve Rumsey, President to appoint the staffs to oversee the teams. In the fall of 2013, the processed began with the naming of the two General Managers, Mauro Cugini (U20) and Scott Jacobi (U18) who have both been with the sport for over ten years. From this point on the rest of the staff was selected and put in place, rounding out the U20 staff would see the announcement of Barry Greer as Head Coach, Matthew Paul and Harvey Boutilier as Assistant Coaches and the U18 staff would add Chris Carr and Tyler McClure as assistants to Jacobi’s staff who doubled as the Head Coach. To round out the staff the teams added Dr. Andi Jones, Amanda Spence (Registered Massage Therapist), Kevin Bailie (Goalie Consultant) and Boutilier doubled as Equipment Manager/Trainer for both teams.
As the players gathered to depart from Toronto for a training camp, everyone new this was the start of a strong program that would change the lives of many Canadian youths for future years.
The team arrived would arrive in Rome the next day and later to Bologna to spend the night. The next day was spent in Villach, Austria for more team building en route to the final destination and host for the week, Budapest, Hungary.
Along with the long flights and bus ride and some of the trip overseas was gruelling with practice in day three. The weather was a battle in Budapest as well. There was a heat wave that ran through the area, and we were right in the middle of it for pre tournament practices and camp.
Traveling from Canada was one thing, but being with both Canadian teams was a wonderful experience and all of the group could quickly see how different this part of Europe was to the rest of the world.
Arriving in Budapest, the main square where the team would spend much of their down time as the team was ten minutes away from stores, restaurants and shopping malls and the arena was about a 15 minute drive from the hotel.
This was a wonderful backdrop to the tournament, but all the players and staff were aware that their main focus was to win gold!
These players were selected based on their ability, speed, sportsmanship, and discipline. We sat down with players and emphasized the need to be good ambassadors for the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada (NBHAC) and Canada, the willingness to be a good team mate and accept whatever role the coaches asked them to fill and finally to embrace the opportunity to travel to a different county.
The day was Thursday, June 26 and would never be forgotten by these young ball hockey players took to the floor. This was a day they reflect on where they were from, the years they played ball hockey, the first time they shot an orange ball at a net – this was the day wearing the red & white felt so much more to them.
When Team Canada arrived in Budapest on June 23, most of the players were awestruck. It seemed surreal, this was the game they had played in most of their lives in their driveways, streets with parents, siblings and friends, but this was the world stage and the team were the favorites as defending champions.
These teams had prepared for minicamp and preparation so there was a comfort level and similar atmosphere with high tempo practices and scrimmages. It was those practices that set the stage for the World Championships.
So on Sunday, June 29 after completing the round robin portion of the tournaments undefeated the teams knew they still had that one goal to achieve which was to win gold.
It would be hard to imagine for Team Canada to play a more flawless game than it did against Slovakia (U18) and United States of America (U20), but Canada proved to be much quicker and more opportunistic Canadians.
It was going to be small things that determined the outcome of this championship games. Who controlled the tempo? who would be more disciplined? who would capitalize on opportunities? who would get that big save? There wasn't much separating the two teams but those small, little details that would be the difference.
Team Canada's offense was well chronicled throughout the tournament getting balanced scoring from all of the forwards which was complemented well with a group of athletic ball moving defensemen and the backbone of every championship team would be solid goaltending. This team seemed to be able to play any style of game, but it was ball possession and team defence which propelled the team to the 2014 World Ball Hockey Federation Championship with a convincing 11-2 (U18) and 6-0 (U20) victories.
It was a moment that was a long time coming for this group of hard working Canadians. The biggest thing this year was the hard work and our hunger to win. These were teams where everything resolved around teamwork and everyone came together, and that's why it happened.
Moments after the conclusion of the game this tight-knit dressing room that seemingly spent every minute of the day together realized they had just accomplished their goal.
Shortly after the final horn had sounded, the teams came together for the closing ceremonies and team captains were presented our 'holy grail' and this will be a moment in time not soon forgotten by the team. The tournament and championship will be frozen in time, but the memories and friendships they have made will last a lifetime.
After the celebration on the floor the team exchanged jerseys, tracksuits, and other souvenirs before departing for Rome and what was to be quite the bus ride and day of celebration of this tremendous effort.
To the boys, their families, friends and to all of our supporters, we thank you.
THE CUP IS STAYING WHERE IT BELONGS......CANADA
TORONTO – September 4, 2013 - On behalf of the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada (NBHAC) and the Junior Team Canada High Performance Director, Steve Dockerty, we are proud to announce the 2014 Junior Team Canada staff for the World Junior Championships to be held in Europe in June 2014 in Budapest, Hungary.
Canada has had incredible success at international competitions over the years and in 2012 the majority of players selected were from the NBHAC. The program will be sending 22 players along with staff members to capture gold against the rest of the world.
The Junior Team Canada staff was very busy in 2014 scouting various events held across Canada. Thorough scouting of the Provincial Championships and the Junior Nationals as well as men’s events at Tier II and III Nationals to form the three squads. The players with international experience will be a good foundation in preparing for this high level tournament.
Junior Team Canada High Performance Director, Steve Dockerty who was represented Canada in 2008, 2010 and 2012 is now spear heading the entire Junior program, had the following to say about how the program has taken shape. “Our 2014 squads will definitely be competing for the gold again. Canada which has won in the past we will work harder to improve the program. We want players that will be part of the Team Canada family for years to come. We have established a team of strong individuals and players from across the country.
Dockerty continued, “it was great to be able to scout these players from various tournaments inclusive of the national tournament, you could see how every player’s game was elevated in each step, and I look forward to seeing them play at the next level – the WORLD”S.”
“We have such a strong group of coaches, with Barry Greer, Scott Jacobi, Chris Carr, Nelson Lajeunesse and James Mentis who all have been with minor programs for numerous years.
It is with great pleasure to introduce the following selections for the 2014 Junior Team Canada program:
U16 Head Coach:
Chris Carr Coach Carr success comes down to three core pillars - culture, talent, and the system of play/game style. He stresses great culture as a must-have ingredient at the elite level, regardless of how good the other two factors are. Without this there is nothing. He saw this as a player very early playing at Withrow Park and later moved to the Withrow Park Knights of the Provincial ‘A’ league and ended his playing career with the Toronto Panthers of the Ontario Premier Ball Hockey League. Carr is a student of the game with a masterful ability at team dynamics and group building. He will teach, guide and elevate players to their potential.
U16 Assistant Coach:
Nelson Lajeunesse Nelson has a great understanding of the international style of play and an appreciation of what it will take as a player to compete at the World level. He was a player on Men’s Team Canada as was a mentor with the 2008 U20 team. Nelson has 10 years of ball hockey coaching experience along with 18+ years playing the game has brought him to the U16 team. His greatest strengths are to lead by example and these young men will learn and prepare under his guidance and coaching. The tactician, motivator and leader will give the 2014 team an opportunity to win gold, but the bigger message will stay with the young men they coach for rest of their lives.
U16 Assistant Coach:
James Mentis Joining him as assistant coach will be James Mentis who one could say is ‘old school’. When asked about the type of player he looks for, “someone who will do what it takes to win, outwork the opposition and gain the ball to win all battles”. This philosophy and attitude have brought all his teams great success at the provincial, national and international levels of play as a member of the most storied franchise in the history of the sport, Brampton Express. The teams he has played on take on his identity and are never out worked which usually end’s in championships.
U18 Head Coach:
Scott Jacobi Jacobi has been looked upon in the ball hockey world as a builder, from his local association to provincial and national teams, the NBHAC JTC High Performance team knew he was the right person for this program. His long list of achievements include coaching in at four Nationals coming home with three gold and one silver, along with contributing as the head coach while with the U16 team in 2012. A few years ago he won an unprecedented three championships, Peewee Provincial, U14 Summer Games and U15 National Championships. His coaching abilities and experience has transitioned to a management role with ease and will be the U16 Administrative Director assisting with team itineraries in conjunction with the U18 and U20 teams. His attention to detail will help ease the travel the players will be up against heading to the World’s.
U20 Head Coach:
Barry Greer Greer is no stranger to ball hockey in Ontario as his teams have always competed for gold. His passion is evident the minute he walks into the arena and is a natural working with his two boys, Denver and Evan who have also played in the JTC program and captured gold. He is a strategic coach who has led his teams to gold at Nationals at the U15 and U17 divisions of play and to U18 Gold in 2012 and most recently U17 Junior National Gold. He adapts to in game situations in all three zones of play taking what the opposition offers him.
These individuals will have a big impact on the chemistry of the teams. If success can be defined in other ways, like making progress, giving effort, how much did we learn, or how much better were we at the end of the tournament than at the beginning, the staff will be teaching important life lessons to the team.
The NBHAC will look to appoint one assistant to each of the U18 and U20 staff along with the support staff and mentor’s in October.
Graduates of the Junior & Adult Ball Hockey Programs across Canada
Andre Benoit - member of the Penetanguishene Minor program for three years and member of the Bronze Medalists at the 2002 WJC’s. A member of the 2003 Memorial Cup Champions, Kitchener Rangers where he led the tournament in scoring as a defenseman and current member of the Colorado Avalanche.
Andrew Agozzino - member of the Vaughan Minor program for seven years prior to moving on with the OHL’s Niagara Ice Dogs and currently in the Colorado Avalanche system with the Lake Erie Monsters.
Jesse Blacker – member of the North York Lynx program for three years and led his team to the Provincial final. Drafted in the second round by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Chris Bigras - member of the Penetanguishene Minor program for eight years and drafted by the Colorado Avalanche
David Broll - member of the Peterborough Men’s program for the past four years and currently in the Toronto Maple Leaf system.
Luca Caputi – member of the Vaughan Minor program for four years and played on the Toronto Jaguars in 2006 winning the National Championship. A member of the Bronze winning Junior Team Canada in 2006 and was drafted in the 4th round by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Dave Clarkson - member of the Greater Toronto Tier II program for five years and currently with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Matt Cooke - member of the Belleville Minor program for four years. A member of the 1997 Junior Provincial Champions, Belleville Bulls and 1998 CHA Junior Team Canada and won the Stanley Cup in 2008/09 with the Minnesota Wild.
Carlo Colaiacovo - member of the Vaughan & Downsview Minor programs for six years prior to receiving the 1999 OBHA Athlete of the Year award before moving onto the OHL’s Erie Otter’s, and being selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1st round of the 2001 entry draft.
Paulo Colaiacovo - member of the Downsview Minor programs for six years prior to moving on with the Belleville Bulls and Barrie Colts of the OHL. In his final year with the Barrie Colts, he was recognized as the league’s most outstanding goalie. Won the CHL League championship in 2005/06 with the Colorado Eagles.
Marc Cundari - member of the Vaughan Minor program for five years prior to moving on with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires and is currently with the Calgary Flames.
Justin Di Benedetto - member of the Vaughan Minor program for four years and played on the Vaughan Top Guns 2004 Bantam AA Champions. He was drafted 2006 in the sixth round by the NY Islanders.
Brian Elliott – member of the Newmarket Minor program. He was a member of the 2003 National Finalist, Toronto Jaguars. Drafted in 2003 and currently a member of the St. Louis Blues.
Ryan Ellis – member of the North York Lynx program for three years and led his team to the Provincial final. Drafted in the first round by the Nashville Predators.
Cory Emmerton - member of the Lambeth Ball hockey League for four years and is currently with the Detroit Red Wings.
Matt Foy - member of the Downsview Minor programs for three years prior to moving on with the OHL’s Ottawa 67's, and being selected by the Minnesota Wild in the 2002 entry draft.
Mike Futa - member of the 1985 Downsview Minor league Champions, before moving onto York University and four years of pro hockey in Europe, general manager of the Hockey Canada Under 17 Team Canada. He enjoyed a brief stint as the General Manager of the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL and is currently the Player Personal Director of the Los Angeles Kings.
Mark Giordano - member of the Downsview Minor program for three years where he was a member of the 2001 Metro Cup Champions, Downsview Bulls. He lead all defenceman in OHL scoring in 2003 as a member of the Owen Sound Attack. Currently with the Calgary Flames.
Taylor Hall – member of the Kingston and Belleville Minor program for four years and led his teams to Provincial Championship Junior finals in two straight years. Drafted and with the Edmonton Oilers.
Lucas Lessio - member of the Vaughan Minor program for three years prior to moving on with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals and currently with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Anthony Luciani - member of the Vaughan Minor program for seven years and currently in the Florida Panthers system.
Manny Malhotra - member of the United Ball Hockey League for four years and currently a member of the Vancouver Canucks.
Zack Nastasiuk - member of the Etobicoke Minor program for four years and currently in the Detroit Red Wings system.
Theo Peckham - member of the Northwest Toronto program for five years and drafted by the Edmonton Oilers and currently in the Chicago Black Hawks system.
Steven Pinizzotto - member of the Downsview Minor programs for two years followed by two years with the North Central league and is currently in the Florida Panthers system.
Brad Richardson - member of the Belleville program the past four years and member of the 2003 Junior Provincial Champions, OHL Rookie of the Year in 2002 and 2003 Colorado Avalanche 4th round draft pick and currently with the Vancouver Canucks.
Tyler Seguin – member of the North York Lynx program for three years and led his team to the Provincial final. Drafted second overall by the Boston Bruins and currently with the Dallas Stars.
Andrew Shaw – members of the Belleville Minor ball hockey organization and led his teams to numerous championships over the years at provincial and national events and currently with the Chicago Black Hawks.
Wayne Simmonds - member of the Durham program for five years and led his team to the Men’s B Provincial final in 2013. Currently with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Matt Stajan - member of the Downsview Minor program for three years prior to moving on with the OHL’s Belleville Bulls, and being selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2nd round of the 2001 entry draft and also played for the CHA’s Junior Team Canada. Currently with the Calgary Flames.
Chris Stewart - member of the Durham program for five years and led his team to the Men’s B Provincial final in 2013. Currently with the St. Louis Blues.
Joe Thornton - member of the Lambeth Wildcats program for three years and is currently with the San Jose Sharks
Raffi Torres - member of the Greater Toronto Tier II program for three years and currently with the San Jose Sharks.
Steven Valiquette - member of Downsview Minor program winning the Metro Cup in 1996. He was awarded the Harry (Hap) Holmes Memorial Award in the AHL for the lowest goals-against average with a minimum of 25 games played. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1996.
Phil Varrone - member of the Premier Ball Hockey League and currently in the Buffalo Sabres system.
Mike Vernace - member of the Toronto Minor program. He was a member of the 2003 National Finalist, Toronto Jaguars and was drafted to the NHL in 2004.
Garratt Wilson - member of the Penetanguishene Minor program for twelve years and currently in the Florida Panthers system.
Steve Yzerman - member of the Ottawa-Carleton league for three years and four time Stanley Cup Champion, who is the current General Manager with the Tamp Bay Lightning
The National Ball Hockey Association of Canada (NBHAC) is pleased to announce Stephen Dockerty from Beeton, ON as the NBHAC High Performance Director.
Stephen brings an incredible expertise to this position through his dedication to the sport as a player, official, volunteer, executive and leader. The NBHAC is very excited at the passion and leadership he brings for advancing the game and his incredible vision for the sport.
Stephen was one of the first executive members of the Beeton Ball Hockey League and is a father to four kids of which three maintain his passion at the local and provincial level of play. His leadership shines with every player he comes across as evident with his successes as a player winning the Master’s Provincial Championship, but his greatest strengths are in relating to people from as young as Learn To Play through to Junior at the local, provincial, national and international levels of competition.
Over the twelve years he has coached at the house league in addition to coaching competitively in eight Provincials winning gold at six of them, a Summer Games Championship at the Girls U18, three junior National events and as General Manager of the Junior Team Canada program winning seven gold, one silver and one bronze since 2008. He is a wonderful sounding board for his players and staff ensuring he assists in providing the extra time to keep the players and staff focused and always maintaining his leadership.
He is very passionate about the sport and about giving opportunities while creating safe and supportive environments for growth at the men’s, women’s and minor’s level of play. He will work with the five General Managers and Staffs to share his vision of the sport and will work with all members across the country to continue growing the game nationally and internationally.
Leadership comes from the top and there is no finer leader within the sport and we all look forwards to working with Mr. Stephen Dockerty