“Development is the name of our game.”
Oct 1, 2016 at 10:30 pm
Westwood Arenas Minor Atom v. Vaughan Kings
Oct 1, 2016 at 3:20 pm
Westwood Arenas Midget v. Vaughan Kings
Oct 1, 2016 at 1:50 pm
Westwood Arenas Minor Midget v. Vaughan Kings
Sep 28, 2016 – If there was a textbook detailing on the correct development path a young hockey player should take it would likely feature a few of the common routes taken today with plenty of examples of players who have followed those routes to the pros. The rea...
Sep 28, 2016
If there was a textbook detailing on the correct development path a young hockey player should take it would likely feature a few of the common routes taken today with plenty of examples of players who have followed those routes to the pros. The reality, however, is that every playerâs path to success is as different as their fingerprints. No two are alike. University of Wisconsin senior forward Grant Besse has already lived through a very unpredictable hockey career, and recalled his unique path beginning from a call one morning his junior year of high school that changed the course of his hockey future.
Like many high end Minnesota high school hockey players, Besse thought he knew his future hockey path. Heâd play high school hockey followed by one, maybe two years of juniors, then aspiring for a collegiate career and, icing on the cake, a chance at a stint in the pros. But as Besse has learned, there really isnât a direct or perfect path for any player. Besseâs shock that morning of his junior year did not come from who was calling him, UW hockey coach Mike Eaves, but for what he had to say. Besse had already committed to UW and knew heâd eventually be a Badger, but thought he knew the path: MN high school hockey, USHL, NCAA. This plan probably would have become reality, but after Besseâs historic performance in the Minnesota High School Hockey Championship game his junior year, his future took an unexpected turn.
After setting a record by scoring five goals against perennial heavyweight Hill-Murray in the Championship game enroute to a 5-1 victory, Besse received the call from Eaves. Citing not just Grantâs championship game performance, but his entire standout junior season of 93 points (52 goals and 41 assists in 31 games), Eaves wanted him immediately after his senior season. At this point in his career, Besse knew the commitment level and sacrifices made toward the sport he loved would have to increase.
Besse believes anyone who is serious about their sport has to be willing to make tough sacrifices. In his past, Besse has had to miss high school homecomings, summer vacations and other events to commit to his hockey career, but preparing for collegiate level hockey requires an even greater commitment.
âIf you want to keep improving, scoring or defending well, the sacrifices have to come,â Besse said. âAny athlete will say work your hardest at all times, but if you donât someone else will outwork you, maybe not immediately, but they will. You need to have that work ethic that you want to get better each and every day, and if you can do that good things will happen.â
Good things happened for Besse, and once he knew playing collegiately was closer than he thought, he upped his level of play.
âAfter I had committed for UW, I just started playing better,â Besse said. âMaybe it was because I knew what lay ahead for me. I didnât have to think about it any more. I was able focus on my game and it just helped to elevate my level of play.â
Besse was motivated to play at the next level, but he also learned to rely on the advice of his father, John, and his Benilde-St Margaretâs High School coach, Ken Pauly. Besse believes his father taught him the importance of work ethic, and his coach has taught him skill. Besse has maintained his relationship with his former coach, exchanging messages while at UW and catching up whenever he makes it back home to Minnesota.
Coach Paulyâs influence went well beyond that of hockey coach and teacher, he remains an important advisor in Besseâs life. Pauly coached him through the crucial, dynamic high school years, and offered advice to Besse about his future hockey career. Although Pauly believed Besse would succeed whichever path he chose, he too struggled over the decision Besse had to make.
âGrant might have made the tougher decision coming back his senior year,â Pauly said. âHe had more pressure to perform, and a filled arena night after night. But he, just like many players have to ask themselves, what are they willing to mortgage to get to where they want to be?â
Pauly believes once decisions become finalized and sacrifices made, the player is still the only one to wake up the next morning and face his or her new reality. Pauly echoed Besseâs attitude and work mentality, but also advocates for focusing on the now in hockey, and putting all your mental effort towards the team, tournament, or play at hand.
âHaving dreams are great, but to stop thinking about whatâs next is key to being the best player and teammate,â Pauly said. âFocusing too much on the future kills the joy and love of the game.â
Grant resisted the temptation and the pressure to skip his senior season of high school and jump straight into the USHL in preparation for his freshman campaign at UW. He was physically ready and it was the next logical step for his game. Yet, it didnât feel right to Besse who felt Benilde-St Margaretâs was the right place for him.
Besseâs dedication to his team and his commitment to hard work throughout his career has resulted an unique hockey path for himself, playing on the UW hockey team as a true freshman straight from high school. His ability to make that jump enabled him to play with numerous NHL bound upperclassmen and win the Big 10 Championship his freshman season. Although playing with the Badgers was surreal, Besse had to learn new elements of the game and make adjustments.
âCollege players are bigger, faster or stronger. I had a hard time dealing with the systems,â Besse said. âIn high school, my coach allowed me to play more liberally, but once I got here, there was a lot more structure to account for like forechecks, backchecks, defensive zone. There was that learning curve that I had to adjust to.â
Besse made the necessary adjustments and he now enters his senior season as a returning captain for the Badgers. Drafted by the Anaheim Ducks, Besse plans to join the Ducks organization following graduation. Looking back at his past to how he got here, Besse acknowledges that you can never predict how the future will unfold. He advises that you shouldnât try to plan out your future. Enjoy the journey, work hard and focus on your next game.
âEveryoneâs path is different. I was pressured by junior teams to leave school early, but I said no because I wanted to stay and finish high school,â Besse said. âEveryone has their own path and no one path is better than another.â
Sep 13, 2016 – Seven of our 8 Flyer teams participated in early bird tournaments this past weekend and acquitted themselves extremely well. The hard work and discipline displayed on the ice was nothing short of amazing, and augers well for the upcoming season. It ...
Sep 13, 2016
Seven of our 8 Flyer teams participated in early bird tournaments this past weekend and acquitted themselves extremely well. The hard work and discipline displayed on the ice was nothing short of amazing, and augers well for the upcoming season. It is abundantly clear the Flyers have reached a new plateau in the past few years; the quality of our coaches and the âcompete levelâ of the players are as good as any in the GTHL.
The Minor Atom team played hard and exciting hockey to get thru to the semifinals of the Marlie Friendship Tournament, only to lose to a highly skilled team from Buffalo, New York. Good things lie ahead for this group of young stars in the upcoming season.
The Atom team won three of four games in the Marlie Friendship Tournament, which, under normal circumstances, should have put them thru to the next round. The team had a very respectable âgoals forâ of 12 with 7 against, but ended up losing their final game to league competitor Mississauga Senators 3 - 1. It would appear the 06 Flyers will compete in the top tier of the Atom division again this year.
The Minor Pee Wee team went undefeated in the round robin of the same tournament, and is off to a very positive start to their season. The team scored a total of 19 goals with 9 against in five games and lost a very close game 2-1 to league competitor Vaughan Kings in the quarter finals. These two teams have fought it out in league play over the past two years and it looks as if that healthy rivalry will continue.
The Pee Wee team played in the Early Bird Red Wing Tournament and went undefeated in round robin play. They met arch-rival Marlies in the quarter finals and despite a valiant effort, dropped a very close game 2-0. The team had 17 goals for and 7 against in round robin play and played a highly disciplined and well executed set of games. The 04 team is shaping up for another strong season.
The Minor Bantam team started where they left off this past season, winning the City and the Province, by winning the Championship of the Red Wing Early Bird Tournament. The team went undefeated, despite having a number of players on the disabled list. The boys came to play, as they always do, and beat the Natâs 6 â 1 in the final to claim the Championship Trophy. This will be another highly successful season for this hard working and highly skilled group of elite athletes.
The Bantam team went thru the round robin of the Red Wing Early Bird with only one loss, but was unable to advance. The team looks solid and will compete for a top six spot this year, in the highly competitive GTHL Bantam AAA division.
The Minor Midget team participated in the Toronto Titans Minor Midget Showcase and finished the round robin in a very strong defensive position allowing only 8 goals in 4 games. The team works extremely hard and looks forward to highly competitive and rewarding season.