It was a season that will be etched in the history books for the Humber College North men’s extramural hockey team.
The Ontario College Committee on Campus Recreation (OCCCR) year-end Challenge Cup tournament saw Humber North mount comeback victories in all of their games, including the final. They scored the tying goal with just a minute left in the third period, and then grabbed the game-winning goal with just 10 seconds left securing the title.
“We just peaked at the right time,” said head coach Mark Wright.
But can they do it all over again?
Only 10 players from last year’s team returned to the 23-player squad this year, but Wright said the new additions make the team well rounded.
“I think the guys we’ve added to our roster make us stronger than we were last year,” he said.
Julian Luongo, 17, a culinary management student, is one of the rookies on the team, and said the mixture of returning players and new players is working out well.
“We bond pretty good as a team,” Luongo said. “Hopefully we do good this season.”
Unlike varsity sports where teams play regular season games, extramural ice hockey teams play a series of tournaments, and depending on their success and power rating, receive a spot in the OCCCR Challenge Cup.
“Anything can happen in a tournament style format,” Wright said.
“You can have one unlucky bounce and you’re out of it.”
Humber North has five tournaments this season, including the Challenge Cup, and although there is a risk of early elimination, Wright remains confident in the team.
“There is always that chance to repeat the championship win, and I know we’re going to be successful and we’re going to win tournaments but it’s just the matter of clicking at the right time and winning at the right time,” he said.
The tournaments don’t occur every week. The breaks in between tournaments can span from two weeks to a month, so game sharpness is a concern.
“We tell them throughout the summer and in between tournaments that conditioning is a lot on their own,” Wright said.
Humber North only practices once a week, and Wright stresses to his players “if they want to be successful and they want to be competitors, than they got to take that extra step outside of practice.”
Wright describes Humber North as a fast team with a lot of skill and scoring ability. He also said that the team lacks size, but that is not a concern since the OCCCR ice hockey league is non-contact.
Patrick Reay, 21, was a member of last year’s Challenge Cup team, and believes that they can repeat.
“We had a big season last year winning it all, so if we keep practicing hard, I think we can do it,” said the sport management student.
Humber North will play in their second tournament at their home rink, Westwood Arena, on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21.