Around the G: “AA” Preview
After a long off-season, it’s easy to forget which teams were the ones to watch. As teams from the “AA” division get set for another year, here’s a look at what to expect in “AA” hockey.
While the North York Knights (32-2-2) dominated the East, the competition in the West saw a heated battle for Kraft Cup supremacy between the Toros (30-4-2) and Toronto Wolverines (29-4-3). The Kraft Cup race would ultimately end in a Toros victory with the two teams meeting again in the West final. After five games, the Toros punched their ticket to the city finals where they defeated the North York Knights in seven games. Expect the Wolverines to be hungry for victory after narrowly missing out on two championships last season.
Minor Peewee AA
After winning the Kraft Cup by a mile, North Toronto (31-1-3) carried on their winning ways all the way to the city championship where they met the Streetsville Tigers (29-4-3). In a series that would go seven games, North Toronto were crowned as champs after winning the series 8-6. With the Vaughan Rangers (29-5-2) narrowly missing out on a Kraft Cup to the Tigers, the West could remain wide open, while North Toronto – who would go on to win a provincial championship – will remain the team to beat in the East.
Finishing the regular season second place in the West and almost 10 whole points behind the regular season East champion North York Knights (32-3-1), the Mississauga Terriers (24-4-8) would hit their stride come the post-season. The Terriers would eliminate the Kraft Cup winning Vaughan Rangers (30-4-2) in the semi-finals before being crowned as city champions in a 8-2 series victory against the Knights. No longer seen as underdogs, the Terriers will be sure to start the season determined for a repeat.
Minor Bantam AA
Kraft Cup champs mirrored conference champions with the Vaughan Rangers (32-2-2) and Scarborough Young Bruins (30-3-3) winning both titles in their respective divisions. While the second place Ted Reeve Thunder (25-6-5) took the Bruins right to eight games, it would be the Bruins who would prevail. In a close city final, the Rangers would come out on top, defeating the Bruins in six games. The Rangers, Bruins, and Thunder will continue to be teams to watch throughout the upcoming season.
The Ted Reeve Thunder (33-0-3) took their prowesses all the way to the city championships, but it was their opponents who would surprise everyone the most. Although they would ultimately fall to the Thunder, it would be the third place Vaughan Panthers (26-6-4) who represented the West in the city finals. The Panthers would defeat the Kraft Cup winning Mississauga Terriers (29-4-3) in the West finals, ultimately falling to the Thunder in the city finals. Headed into a new season the West remains wide open and could be anyone’s to take.
Minor Midget AA
At every step of the way, the Humber Valley Sharks (31-2-3) always had an answer when it came to winning. Narrowly capturing the Kraft Cup, the Sharks would defeat the second place Vaughan Panthers (30-1-5) in the West final, following it up with a city championship against the West Hill Golden Hawks (28-5-3). Expect the Panthers and Sharks to exchange wins down to the wire throughout the 2017-18 GTHL regular season.
Midget Jr. AA
Both divisions saw tight battles for the top spots making for some unpredictable playoff outcomes. While the Mississauga Jets (32-4-0) and Toronto Aces (27-4-5) were crowned Kraft Cup champs in the West and East respectively, neither team would win the city championship. Finishing second in regular season standings, the North York Knights (27-5-4) would go on to defeat both the first place Aces and Jets to take it all.