The Woolwich Thrashers sledge hockey team finished a strong first season back to competition after the pandemic with a victory over the Elgin Imperials at the Ontario Sledge Hockey Association Champions weekend earlier this month.
“We obviously didn’t know what to expect at the start of the season with changes in our lineup. We’d lost a few players during the pandemic in terms of families who didn’t return or some players moved to other cities. We didn’t really know how we would do, and we ended up being a pretty competitive team,” said trainer and assistant coach Rob Hoag.
The team competes in the open division, meaning it is open to people in a wide range of ages and skill sets. Despite the range, there is still a competitive nature to it, Hoag said.
“We very much ensure that everybody had fair and equitable time on the ice and got to participate fully and our opponents were very much of the same mindset.
“It was a very good experience for everybody, for the families, for the bench staff and especially for the players,” he said.
In the team’s return to the ice, it played 21 games and picked up two silver medals in tournaments along the way. Both of the gold-medal game losses were against the Imperials, making the 4-2 win in the final April 2 that much more enjoyable.
“We sort of figured that, coming into this, we’re going to end up playing them in the finals again. And hopefully we could finally have their number, which ended up happening. The team was pretty pumped that we finally were able to beat them in a big game,” said head coach Troy Stuebing.
This was the Thrasher’s first league championship, he noted.
“So they’re definitely excited, especially being a team that beat us two other times in a gold-medal game this year. So it’s super exciting. Everyone had big smiles and lots of pictures with the trophy,” he said.
“After not playing for three years, it was great to see smiles on everyone’s faces again.”
“We had a competitive but fun season and we are very proud of the performance of all our players,” added Hoag.