BRANTFORD – There is a local hockey team making a big stir at their university and for all the right reasons. Laurier Brantford Men’s hockey team is the current OCAA champions for Extramural College and University hockey, but they did not rise to the top like any normal hockey team.
Starting the 2012 season already being considered out of the championship picture, Laurier went to Conestoga College to play an exhibition to test some of the leagues talent. After a disappointed loss it seemed like this would be yet another year of horrible Laurier Brantford hockey. The teams first tournament seemed to not prove anyone’s doubts wrong as the team won only one of 3 games against the only team ranked lower than them in the OCAA Rankings.
Securing their 25th position in the rankings, the team went into the Christmas break with an idea that they needed to do better. As the new semester started, multiple colleges and university side campuses were accepted into the league making the OCAA nearly a 40 team league. This addition meant both weaker and tougher teams were now in the mix to qualify in the top ten and be invited to the Challenge Cup for OCAA champion. The addition of the teams seemed to boost Laurier as they won their next 7 games. Thankfully, a snowstorm hit the night before their own hosted tournament, causing almost half the teams to have to drop out of the tournament. This smaller pool of teams meant better chances for a tournament win and Laurier Brantford did not look back from their.
With their tournament win, they moved onto the Challenge Cup tournament, being ranked 11th out of 12 for tournament seeding. The winning mentality didn’t stop as the team tore threw some of the highest rated teams in the province. Lynne Guliver described the teams transformation by saying, “It was as if a switch flicked.” The Golden Hawks moved on to the finals where they became the first ever team from Laurier Brantford to win an OCAA title.
Although this team took a very uncommon road on their way to the championship, the impact they had on their school and campus is really where the miraculous victory lies.
Laurier Brantford is a small side campus of Wilfrid Laurier University and is certainly not known for their sporting talents in the OCAA across all sports. When the hockey team won the Challenge Cup and became champions, it brought a whole new level of expectations to the school for everything. Teams want to be the winners seeing as the hockey team had success, and because of that, their sports are succeeding more than ever before. The hockey team is even inspiring themselves, as they’ve come into this season with the mindset that the only result they will accept is another OCAA Challenge Cup Victory.
Laurier Brantford will host this years Men’s Hockey Challenge Cup meaning the team will be automatically qualified. Because of this, their path this season will be a little bit easier than the previous, but gives them that much more of a reason to want to win the trophy on their home ice.