By Darryl G. Smart
The Norfolk Knights invaded the Barrie Colts Peggy Hill Classic, and by the time the weekend was over, everyone knew who this new team was.
The Knights brought five teams to Barrie, with two winning gold medals, two others won silver, and the other making it to the semifinal.
Playing shorthanded didn’t stop the U12 Good Redden Klosler Knights, who continued their winning ways, bringing home a second-straight tournament victory, capped by a thrilling 2-0 win over the Erie North Shore Storm in the final.
Playing with only 10 players because of school-related COVID-19 isolation protocols, the Knights went 3-0-1 in round-robin action, which included a 3-1 win over the Brantford 99ers. In the semifinal, the Knights advanced to the championship game with a 2-1 win over the Dundas Blues.
The U11 Greenfield Dental Knights also struck gold in Barrie, playing in a very competitive division that went down to the last game to qualify for the semifinals.
The Knights, who just came off a 10-day COVID-19 team isolation protocol, shook the rust with ties with the Erie North Shore Storm 2-2 and Barrie Colts 3-3 on Friday. On Saturday the Knights built their momentum defeating the Peterborough Petes and East Gwillimbury Eagles to earn a spot in the championship rounds.
On Sunday in the semifinal, the Knights momentum kept rolling with a 4-1 win over the Eagles, before beating the Colts 4-2 to claim the title.
The U10 Malo Family Dentistry Knights were dominant throughout the tournament, going 4-0 in round-robin action.
On championship Sunday, the Knights started hot, beating the Toronto East Enders Ticats 4-0, before dropping a 5-2 decision to the Stratford Warriors.
The U16 Port Dover Kia Knights broke out with a fantastic performance over the weekend, getting to the final, before losing 2-1 in triple overtime to the Woodstock Jr. Navy Vets.
The Knights made their presence felt going 4-0 in round-robin action to punch a ticket to the semifinal.
On Sunday, the Knights skated away with a 2-1 victory over the Innisfil Winterhawks, before losing to the Navy Vets, having to play-three-on-three hockey in the third overtime.
In U15 action the Millard’s Knights continued to show plenty of compete, despite being three players short because of injuries.
The Knights battled throughout the four-game round robin and got into the semifinals thanks to a win over the Burlington Eagles. But in the semifinal on Sunday, the Quinte West Hawks took a 4-1 win to eliminate the Knights.
U11 coach Mark Stephens looked back at the tournament success, and immediately praised the Norfolk Minor Hockey Association organizers.
“It is quite evident that the ice time, both inter-association games and development that was organized by Norfolk Minor Hockey as part of their Back to Play program last season has been hugely successful,” Stephens said. “It appears that this program and the care over providing the required access to ice time and skills development coaching has enabled the new Norfolk Minor Hockey Association to be immediately competitive and successful at the ‘A’ division level.
“A great reflection of the association’s early success can be reflected in the comments of a Norfolk Knights U11 player prior to Sunday’s final game, saying, ‘I have never played in a hockey tournament championship. I am so excited. I love hockey.’”