Goal scorers get all the credit.
Jaw dropping dekes and clutch goals make the highlight reels and bring us to our feet at the rink.
But what about all that came before those show stopping plays?
The assists must be counted, and thanks to the culture of our game, often are.
It’s safe to say the City of Vaughan Hockey Association has had its share of players score key goals and take their time in the limelight.
Often though, celebrations and shining moments wouldn’t come to be if not for a great pass or key defensive play moments before the glory.
Off-ice unsung heroes were recognized earlier this season as the CVHA celebrated its 25th anniversary during their annual volunteer appreciation night. The event brought to light the countless men and women who donate their time and efforts year after year to ensure the association’s continued success.
Those behind the scenes efforts have helped develop established professionals such as Andrew Cogliano (Anaheim Ducks) and Phil Varone (Buffalo Sabres) as well as recent NHL draft picks Michael Dal Colle and Anthony Cirelli.
“As a volunteer, there is terrific satisfaction in knowing your commitment and contributions to the program have a positive lasting impression, and more importantly, understanding it is for a worthy cause,” said CVHA president Barry Harte, who has been involved with the organization since 1992.
Before migrating its rep divisions to the MTHL in 1997 and house league to the GTHL in 2004, the CVHA operated as a member of the OMHA beginning with the 1991-92 season. The current iteration, which has had Harte at the helm since 2010, now includes one of the largest house league representations in the GTHL and by extension, in Canada.
The scope of the CVHA has had a tremendous impact not only on the City of Vaughan, but also on the broader minor hockey community. The association consistently provides a place to play so young players within the Greater Toronto Area can realize their hockey dreams.
The CVHA has proven its success through its numbers and growth, and perhaps more importantly as a respected entity within the GTHL. Dave Lowes, manager of the League’s marketing and communications, says working with the coaches, parents and volunteers from the CVHA “has been a pleasure.”
Two members who have had a profound impact on the CVHA’s success are Harte and Rocco Alonzi, vice president of the rep division. Both have had different paths to their current positions – Harte began as a volunteer on Toronto’s outdoor rinks, while Alonzi played in the Downsview area before starting as a coach in Vaughan.
“Being part of a community-based program composed of local players and volunteers has been extremely pleasurable and rewarding,” said Harte. “You witness the progression and success of players and teams, and also see the relationships and friendships created along the journey.
Harte and Alonzi were key figures in recognizing other members of the CVHA community, including Carmen and Teri Cogliano, who were presented with the first CVHA Select sweater worn by their son on his journey to the NHL. Cogliano began with the CVHA house league at age four during its inaugural campaign in 1991-92, cracked his first Select team the following year and has since played 704 consecutive regular-season games since starting his NHL career in 2007 – the second- longest such run in League history.
The CVHA also donated $5,000 to the Andrew Ferrone Memorial Foundation in honour of Andrew, whom Harte coached for several years.
“I admire and have great respect for the Ferrone family for the efforts they have made in creating awareness to suicide prevention through fundraising efforts in memory of Andrew,” wrote Harte, who presented the cheque to Andrew’s parents, Joe and Gilda Ferrone.
Two Vaughan Rangers coaches – Michael Bowe (Minor Peewee Select) and Joe DiMaria (Atom AA) – were presented with the 2015 and 2016 CVHA Presidents Award, respectively, recognizing their contributions and leadership roles within the program.
That’s the ultimate assist.