We went back-to-back.
The North York Rangers put the finishing touches on an impressive 2015-16 season by capturing their first ever national midget championship on Sunday, the second straight TELUS Cup win by a GTHL team.
The Rangers finished first in the nation after picking up a 4-1 victory over the host Saint John Vito’s in the final at qplex in Quispamsis, N.B., a game televised nationally on TSN. Defenseman Liam Gillanders (1-1–2) scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and goaltender Jett Alexander (17 saves) denied the final 15 shots he faced in the win.
Aidan Casey (2-0–2) and James Turner (1-1–2) provided the other goals for North York, who won its first ever trip to the tournament. The victory came one year after the Toronto Young Nationals claimed the title to end a 38-year drought for GTHL/MTHL teams.
The Rangers raced to a 3-0-0 start at the tournament with wins over the Saskatoon Contacts (5-0 W), Dartmouth Major Midgets (5-3 W) and Vito’s (3-2 W) but scored only two goals in losing their final two preliminary round games to the Lions du Lac St-Louis (3-1 L) and Lloydminster Bobcats (4-1 L). They again faced the Bobcats in the semifinal, with captain William Calverley (2-1–3) posting three points in a 5-3 victory.
“We’ve been doing this since day one, going through the GTHL playoffs with a good work ethic,” said Calverley, who paced the Rangers with 6-4–10 to share second in tournament goals and fourth in points. “It was a tough road, but it was worth it and I am extremely proud of our team.”
Alexander, a 12th-round selection (225th overall) by the Mississauga Steelheads in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection, went 4-1-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and one shutout in the tournament. Only Lions goaltender Yaniv Perets – who posted shutouts in his only two appearances – finished ahead of Alexander in goals-against average and save percentage.
The Rangers (22-4-7, 51 points) finished atop the Kraft Cup standings thanks in large part to a season-opening 11-game point streak (8-0-3). Aided by the League’s top offence – they averaged 4.48 goals per game – North York bested that point streak later in 2015-16 when they went 9-0-4 from Dec. 15 – Jan. 27.
North York completed a four-game sweep of the Markham Majors in Round 1 of the Scotiabank GTHL Playoffs before dropping the Don Mills Flyers in six games in the Semifinals. The Rangers never lost in the Final, defeating the Mississauga Rebels 9-1 in their first-to-eight-points series.
Casey (14-16–30), Calverley (14-14–28) and Turner (11-13–24) led the North York attack during the postseason, while the club allowed more than one goal only three times in their 15 playoff games. The Rangers defeated the Whitby Wildcats in the final at the Central Region championship to clinch a berth at the TELUS Cup.
Before the Rangers and Young Nationals over the past three seasons, only one GTHL team reached the national tournament in the previous seven years. The Mississauga Reps won a silver medal in 2010, backstopped by Boston Bruins first-round pick Malcolm Subban.
The League has seen only one other national midget champion in its history: the Don Mills Flyers won the Wrigley Cup in 1977.
The Cariboo Cougars of B.C. Major Midget League will host the 2017 TELUS Cup, Canada’s 44th national midget championship, from April 23 to 30, 2017.
Since its inception in 1974, the tournament has been known as the Wrigley Cup (1974-78), Air Canada Cup (1979-2003), National Midget Championship (2004) and since 2005, the TELUS Cup. The event now features five regional champions and one host team, but from 1974 to 1983 welcomed the country’s top 12 teams.
The Young Nationals and Don Mills Flyers share the GTHL/MTHL record with four all-time trips to the tournament.
|2016||North York Rangers||Gold||TELUS Cup|
|2015||Toronto Young Nationals||Gold||TELUS Cup|
|2014||Toronto Young Nationals||4th||TELUS Cup|
|2010||Mississauga Reps||Silver||TELUS Cup|
|2006||Toronto Jr. Canadiens||4th||TELUS Cup|
|2005||Don Mills Flyers||4th||TELUS Cup|
|2004||Toronto Marlboros||6th||National Midget Championship|
|2001||Toronto Young Nationals||Bronze||Air Canada Cup|
|1998||Don Mills Flyers||6th||Air Canada Cup|
|1992||Mississauga Blackhawks||4th||Air Canada Cup|
|1990||Toronto Red Wings||5th||Air Canada Cup|
|1986||Toronto Red Wings||Silver||Air Canada Cup|
|1985||Toronto Red Wings||5th||Air Canada Cup|
|1983||Don Mills Flyers||Lost in Quarterfinal||Air Canada Cup|
|1979||St. Michael’s College||Silver||Air Canada Cup|
|1978||Wexford Raiders||Bronze||Wrigley Cup|
|1977||Don Mills Flyers||Gold||Wrigley Cup|
|1976||Toronto Young Nationals||Silver||Wrigley Cup|
North York Rangers Roster
|No.||Name||Position||Date of Birth||Hometown|
|72||Jett Alexander||G||11/08/1999||North York|
|61||Matteo Santia||F||04/02/1999||Richmond Hill|
|Team Staff: Claude Desjardins (President), Rob Vessio (Head Coach), Brent Hughes (Assistant Coach), Mike Tilson (Assistant Coach), Taffita Chadsey (Trainer) and Lynn Calverley (Manager)|