The ring is the thing for Ontario champion A’s
The Ontario Junior A lacrosse champion St. Catharines WMKL Athletics received their championship rings Wednesday night. Front left: Head coach Steve Toll, Tom Whitty, Alex Simmons, Carter Zavitz, general manager Jeff Chcoski. Photo by: BILL POTRECZ
The St. Catharines WMKL Athletics officially rang in their Ontario Junior A lacrosse championship Wednesday night at their annual awards night at Pizza Jerry’s Union House.
As well as honouring the graduating players and individual award winners, 40 championship rings were presented to players and staff.
General manager Jeff Chcoski and head coach Steve Toll passed out the rings with instructions not to open the box until equipment manager and locker room attendant Bob McLaren gave everyone the OK following an official countdown.
“We’ve been dreaming about this for a long time,” A’s captain Tom Whitty said. “Everyone wonders what could have happened if we went to the Minto (Cup). This was as far as we could go and to do it with those guys I grew up with, it means a lot.”
Whitty, who was named best defensive player along with goaltender Cam MacLeod, was particularly happy to see long-time trainer Lee Randall get another ring.
“I think he has four Minto Cup (rings) and he wanted a fifth so he could finish his hand off,” Whitty said. “I told him my first year — I have a really good relationship with him — I’m going to get him a fifth ring. I couldn’t exactly do that but I could get him this one.”
Alex Simmons, who was honoured as the team’s leading scorer, was thrilled to be able to relive the championship.
“It’s absolutely fantastic,” said Simmons, who attends the University of Denver. “We’ve been dreaming about this for I don’t know how long.
“It’s great to see these guys again and go over what we accomplished in Oakville.”
Simmons was also gratified to see the title come back to St. Catharines.
“The city needed it and the championship needed to be back here,” he said.
Carter Zavitz, who was named co-most valuable player with Brayden Mayea, said the ring was a long time coming.
“It’s something we’ve been working towards since Grade 4 or 5 with the same group of guys,” said Zavitz, a senior at Princeton University. “I think it all came down to circumstance and everyone took on a role this year and we were able to execute.”
Chcoski, who was presented with an unofficial award as GM of the year by Toll, kept the rings under his bed for about a month, worried they would be stolen before they could be given out.
“How everything came together and how we were able to bring all the guys together with our coaching staff and management, this night is very satisfying,” he said. “You have this memory for the rest of your life.”
Following are the award winners for the 2021 season.
Most Valuable Players
Most Improved Player
Best Defensive Player
Most Sportsmanlike Player
Transition Player of the Year
Best out of Town Trade Player
Rookie of the Year
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