The All-Star day is a day of Celebration. We take this chance to relax, laugh and enjoy the sport we grew up with. I can still remember racing home from school grabbing my stick and gloves and racing over to the court on the street where all the kids would come together to play ball hockey. We would play until the sun would go down or until our dads would come calling that dinner was ready. Things have evolved and the game has been taken indoors and now many of us are the dads but our passion and love for this sport will never die. The All-Star game is a chance to come together and enjoy a pressure less day at the rink where every pass, shot and save has no consequence.
Adopting the NHL format a draft of forty players was held to divide and form two separate teams of All-Stars. Before I get to the result of the game I would like to thank all 32 of 40 players named that took the time out of their busy schedules and away from their families to support the league, the sport and their peers and enjoy the day. I had only one request as I planned this day for weeks if you could not attend please inform either me or your team Captains or Coaches. Some did, and I appreciate that you had the curtosey and respect to allow someone else the opportunity to attend in your place. Others just left us waiting in limbo. Thank You we really appreciated being left high and dry.
This is a day of celebration so let’s get to the game. In a never before seen move at an All-Star game a trade was made minutes before the game. From team West two Polar Bear snipers Jeff Wilson and Chris Monaghan were dealt to the East for future considerations. So the teams were balanced with each side dressing nine forwards and five defencemen. The West would start Thornhill Steeler Paul Zarnett and the East would give Polar Bear Gus Kalitzis the starting nod. The West would score first and Frankie Giustini would open the scoring as he does in many games. The East would press and would be rewarded as Randy Kelly of the Orangemen would score his first Premier All-Star game goal. A quick response from the West as Alberto Cucchiara the youngest player in the game from St. Mike’s restored the West’s lead at 2-1. Steve Lindo from the Orangemen with a beautiful goal as he dekes Paul Zarnett knots the score at two. The West would respond with two goals before the period ends as Goncalves and Montiero help build a two goal lead at 4-2. The second period would be won by the East as they outscored the West 2-1 Jeff Wilson from the Bears and Ricardo Pires of the Orangemen would tally for the East and Goncalves with his second of the game makes the score 5-4 after two. With a period still to go the East would mount steady pressure until Captain Chris Creador of the East fires a rocket past Ralph Pellicori to tie the game at five with eight minutes left. As the clock ticks down a shootout looked poised to be the deciding factor. Hold on now Vaughan Jet super star Mike Gaggi on the West had other ideas. Mike sneaks into the slot and fires a shot past Anthony Flores to give the West a 6-5 lead with just under two minutes to play. A frantic last minute saw the East fall just short as the West would come away with a 6-5 victory in the Annual Downsview Park All-Star game.
For the enjoyment of the crowd they were treated to a shootout with some of the top snipers in the game. The players didn’t disappoint and all tried their trickiest, fanciest moves to the oohs and ahhs of the crowd. The goals didn’t matter at this point, but I have to say I’ve never seen so many smiles coming from ball hockey players as I did in those ten minutes, well worth the dozens and dozens of hours it took me organizing the day. The West would also win the shootout with Giffin, Giustini and Goncalves all successful in their attempts. It could have been the G in their last name standing for Goal. Wilson would score for the East but a 3-1 shootout win for the West would end the night.
I would like to thank everybody who attended and participated in the 2012 All Star game. A special thanks to both Elio Pascuzzo and Dan Conte who did a wonderful job officiating the game, even though there was some controversy on a disallowed goal. To Johnny, Paul and crew from Motion Video Productions who videotaped the entire day, we look forward to the final product if it was anything like last year’s montage I can’t wait to see it. To Michelle the time keeper who had to deal with three #9’s on each side, hope you got all the points right LOL, thank you for your time and effort. To Mr Dominic DiGironimo and the entire NWTBHL staff thank you for your continued support, trust and the T-Shirts they were appreciated by all. To all the players who came out at 3:30pm on a Saturday afternoon in January to play a game for nothing more than fun. Is that not what it’s all about Fun, Friendship and Respect. To the two Captains Charlie Giffin and Chris Creador who I’ve spoken with more in the last couple of weeks than I have in five years, I promise no more phone calls. Thank You. You are both worthy of All-Star Captain status. To the coaches Marcel Vieira (who was stuck in traffic) but still got there in time for the team photo, Alex Bovoletis, Gerry Panza, Chris Malkhassian and Glen (Pops) Bradbury thank you for your support and dedication. To all the fans in attendance I hope you enjoyed yourself.