The 2013-2014 youth hockey season had a new platform. The Greater Boston Youth Hockey League was no more and the South Boston Youth Hockey League would be moving to the Valley. New competition, new distances traveled and new challenges were ahead.
SBYH has always been a strong program, but this year was a little different. More kids were moving to private club teams, others never played because of the time commitment involved and the rest? Well, there just aren’t that many kids in Southie anymore. The Mite team, 7 and 8 year old players, is the feeder team for the program. The 2013-2014 Season had just one team. Fourteen kids; boys and girls, and all different skill levels, made up the Mite A team for SBYH. Let’s just say the outlook for the season wasn’t so positive. At best, it would be a learning year.
What happened next? They were winning; and winning big! From the start of the season in September through the end of 2013, they didn’t lose a game. Hockey was fun! A great group of kids, led by coaches Tom Harnan and Joe Burke, were unstoppable. With all their success, the team was moved to the National Elite division. They now played full ice games and worked hard to earn their spot in this division. They finished the regular season in 3rd place, behind Charlestown and Winthrop.
The first round of the playoffs matched South Boston vs. Medford. They won 5-4 and advanced to the semi-finals against Winthrop. During the regular season, South Boston couldn’t pull out a win against Winthrop. This time, it ended in a thrilling 4-3 OT win for South Boston.
In the end, it was two city teams facing off for the title; both newcomers to the Valley. The winner would be named the Mite National Elite Champion. In the end, it was not meant to be. The South Boston Mite A team finished their season with an impressive 22-4-3 record in their inaugural season with Valley Hockey League. They also took 2nd place in the Central Mass Winter Classic. They took first in the annual Brian McGonagle Tournament. They won the Mass. District 1 championship. Their accomplishments are many.
One player said, “You don’t have to win to be a winner”. At first thought, most would say it’s a typical response of a player who lost the “big game”. But what he said rings true. These kids may have lost the “big game”, but they are truly winners in all of our hearts. They not only learned the game of hockey this season, they also renewed a sense of community in all of us. They finished with the knowledge that a team can accomplish the improbable when they do it together. They finished with respect for each other, their coaches and themselves. They finished with a bond few will get to experience and memories to last a lifetime. They finished with their community behind them. They finished with pride and most of all, they had fun.
To Coaches Tom Harnan and Joe Burke, to Deven Dunlap, Toby Halloran, Patrick Harnan, Thomas Harnan, Brennah Hynes, Mae Lafferty, Gregory Matthews , Maeve Murray, Jerry O’Neil, Dylan Picard, Michael Pittman, Jack Reidy, Keara Wilbanks and Nolan Young, thank you for a great season, great friendships and most of all for the memories. The 2013-2014 Mite A season will always hold a special place.
Submitted by the South Boston Youth Hockey League – for more information visit: http://sbyhl.org/