Keegan's Silver Stick Speech, News (Barrie Minor Hockey)

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AE - Atom - Keegan's Silver Stick Speech
Submitted By Mark Kennedy on Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Thank you to our very own Keegan for sharing his speech about Barrie Atom AE's Silver Stick win!

It’s Tucker Morton with the puck. He splits the defence and then passes it up to Jake Archer. Archer takes the pass and races down the ice. Archer is winding up. He takes the shot. He Scores!!!

Well that’s what happened on January 14, 2018 at the Seymour Hannah rink in St. Catharines Ontario when my hockey team won the International Silver Stick finals. It was incredible to watch.

For those of you who do not know what the International Silver Stick is I am about to tell you within this speech.

Although I like to think of the International Silver Stick tournament as a reason to stay in a fancy hotel with my teammates and play some hockey, it is actually a much bigger deal than that. The word International in the title of this tournament means teams from all over the world are able to attend, though they will have to play their way through a regional qualifier to be able to play within the International Silver Stick Finals.


Bringing different countries together is how this tournament originally began. The founder of the International Silver Stick, Jack Kinsella, got the idea while attending his son’s exhibition game in Potsdam New York in November of 1956. His son’s team the Woodroffe Cardinals from just west of Ottawa here in Canada, were playing against the Potsdam Golden Knights from New York in the U.S.A. After the game Kinsella decided to invite the Golden Knights to Canada to play to foster goodwill between the two countries. There was very little ice in Ottawa so they played in Richmond Ontario just outside of Ottawa. Richmond had one of the very few indoor arenas at the time. Ernie Temple, a coach at the time for the Richmond Minor Hockey Association wanted to test the idea that Jack Kinsella brought to him. Together they organized two games to be played at the Richmond Ontario Arena on February 6, 1958. The team from Canada combined the Woodroffe Bantams and the Richmond Peewees to play against the Potsdam Golden Knights. The games were sold out. There had been lots of enthusiasm despite Potsdam’s winning effort who won both games. This had proved that the concept was a successful one and had also paved the way for the very first Silver Stick hockey tournament.

This first tournament was held in February of 1958 and was based on a four game total point system. Bantam and peewee teams came from both Potsdam New

York and South Carleton made an all-star team from the Richmond area. They played using American college rules for all the games. The teams from Potsdam defeated those from South Carlton 5-3 crowning them the first Silver Stick champions! This first tournament’s success led to the gradual expansion of the International Silver Stick. Jack Kinsella’s only hope was that “everyone who participated regardless of the outcome would adopt the philosophy of citizenship and international goodwill.” I can tell you from my experience at the International Silver Stick that people from all over the world came together to meet each other, trade pins and cheer each other on!

Creating good relationships between countries is great but all sports fans love a trophy. The original Silver Stick trophy was purchased for more than the original Stanley Cup cost! That trophy stays at the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto. Each year the winning teams from International Silver Stick tournaments get to have their team name up at the Hockey Hall of Fame with the trophy and each player and coach gets to keep a real sterling silver replica pin of that trophy!

 

The International Silver Stick tournament has grown a lot including hundreds of teams and multiple tournaments each year, but Jack Kinsella’s main concept is still the same. If you ever get a chance to attend one of these tournaments as a player or as a hockey fan you will be amazed. The opening ceremonies reminded me of the Olympics. Each team carrying flags and wearing their jerseys showing pride for their country. When we won the tournament on January 14 I was so proud. Proud of our team and proud to be Canadian. After throwing my helmet off hugging my teammates and getting our medals, we went over to the other team and shook their hands and said great game to the Colorado team from U.S.A. showing the good will and sportsmanship Jack Kinsella had envisioned all those years ago.

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