In what was a year where most thought the annual youth hockey tradition of the Mayor’s Cup was lost to COVID-19, a quick week-long series brought out the best performance Charlestown Youth Hockey Association (CYHA) has likely ever had – winning 10 Cups in a variety of age groups.
The CYHA teams actually only lost one championship game in the series, and most every championship game and/or semi-final was hotly contested.
“The credit goes to the players, coaches and the families that support them,” said Board Member and Coach John Sutich. “The teams have been practicing hard, developing their skills and playing in good leagues, such as the Middlesex Yankee Conference and Valley Hockey league. But, if we are being honest, winning 10 titles across the age spectrum is a pretty amazing accomplishment – there weren’t too many lopsided games in this series.”
Sutich also praised the City for moving to have the series in a year when it probably would have been easier to move on without it. He credited City coordinators Mike Devlin, Damien Margardo, and the Parks and Recreation staff for understanding how meaningful the Cup is to City kids.
“Getting this series in speaks volumes about the commitment to the support of non-profit youth sports in our City,” he added. “We are so grateful to the leadership of the Boston Parks and Rec Department that they pulled off this series in such a difficult year. Our kids and families were so excited when we announced that they could play in the Mayor’s Cup.”
It certainly was the case, and 10 Cups is something few can remember ever happening. Last year, in January 2020, the traditional double-elimination tournament that played out saw 13 CYHA teams compete, and at that time, a notable four teams won the Cup. This year blew away all those marks, but leaders in CYHA said it has been a foundation built on for years to strengthen and grow the program.
This year showed just what can happen when all the skates are sharp at the rink.
“First, we have to recognize that all of the City’s non-profit hockey programs are terrific and develop good players, so we are in a great hockey community year in and year out,” said Board member and Past President Mike Frawley. “CYHA made a commitment to build a strong base of Learn to Skate and Micro-Hockey Learn to Play. CYHA kids who start early will get the most ice time and instruction to build the foundation for hockey development. That’s how we are able to field so many competitive teams each year, despite the small size of the neighborhoods we serve.”
Board member and Coach Joe Deroeve – who also helps instruct the Learn to Skate Program, an entry point to the hockey culture here – said one cannot look past the volunteers and parents and coaches who commit to the sport.
“This has been an incredible week for Charlestown, but it all starts with the women and men who volunteer as coaches and team parents,” said Deroeve. “Charlestown Youth Hockey needs about 4,500 volunteer hours each year to field our teams and learn to play and skate programs. We are so grateful for all of the time and energy the coaches give to CYHA players.”
There were many exciting games, several shootout wins, and more than a few nail-biters for players, coaches and parents. However, the puck just seemed to bounce the right way for the Townies in 2021. Nowhere was that more apparent than on Friday night at the Emmons Horrigan O’Neil Rink in Charlestown when the U10 Lady Townies used their head to tie the game, and some heroics to win the Cup – winning 3-2.
Under Coaches Jack Sindoris, Steve Ness and Jamie Chambers, the U10’s were down 1 -0 after the first period. Charlestown scored with 5:54 left in the second when Emery Deroeve took a wild shot, which hit Alannah Chambers in the cage of her helmet and bounced into the goal to tie the game, 1-1. Then, tied 2-2 with 45 seconds left in the game, Emery Deroeve took off from her own end and scored on a breakaway, putting the Townies up 3-2. Goaltender Kendal Powers fought off a flurry of shots afterward, and Charlestown held on to win the 2021 Mayors Cup in their home rink. It was at least the third straight year the U10 Townies have won the Cup, and it was certainly par for the course when it came to all the action on the ice last week.
Sutich, Frawley and Deroeve said the CYHA season continues and the playoffs for league play will begin in a few weeks. Despite COVID, they said the Association has had a safe and healthy season, and one that has kept kids active in a time of lockdown and inactivity for many other young people. Meanwhile, the success of this year is something they believe will translate to continuing to grow the program and teach kids to have fun competing on the ice.
The winning teams included:
•The Townie Midgets bested Hyde Park, 3-0.
•The U12 girls beat Dorchester, 2-0.
•Pee Wee AA beat South Boston, 5-1.
•The Mite AA Charlestown 2 Red team beat Parkway.
•In a thriller from on the far edge of the seat, Charlestown White team beat Hyde Park in a shootout, 7-6, for the Mite AAA title.
•The Squirt AAA team brought home the Cup in a win over Parkway.
•The U10 Girls won a thriller on home ice over Allston-Brighton, making it at least their third straight Cup.
•The U14 Townie girls continued their always-dominant showings in the Cup with a victory over Parkway.
•The Squirt A1 Charlestown team best Dorchester.
•The Bantam A team beat Dorchester as well.