GALLERY: Rock 3-on-3 Holiday Tournament makes triumphant return

Team Green’s Kolton Lefebvre lifts a shot up and over Team Black goalie Liam Morin during the U11 Division championship game in the Timmins Rock 3-on-3 Holiday Tournament at the McIntyre Arena on Thursday. Team Green went on to defeat Team Black 8-2 and claim the U11 title. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

After a two-year absence, the Timmins Rock 3-on-3 Holiday Tournament made a triumphant return to the McIntyre Arena this week.

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

TIMMINS – After a two-year absence, the Timmins Rock 3-on-3 Holiday Tournament made a triumphant return to the McIntyre Arena this week.

A record number of teams, in the U9, U11 and U13 divisions, took to the ice Wednesday, with champions crowned in each Thursday afternoon.

“We had to, unfortunately, take two years off, one right away due to COVID-19 and then last year, so we are happy to be back,” said Rock president Ted Gooch.

“We were a little unsure of what to expect after having to take two years off, but everybody signed up right away and we finished with more than 140 players, which is an all-time high.

“We are more than happy with the way things turned out.”

Players were divided up into teams in each of the three age levels, with members of the Rock coaching them.

“They absolutely love to get to rub shoulders with our Rock players and get coached by them, talk hockey,” Gooch said.

“A lot of them were fortunate enough to get to tour our dressing room and get some jerseys signed.

“They definitely love every minute of this tournament.”

Audrik Charbonneau, of Team Green, attempts to knock the puck off the stick of Team Black’s Tristan Uusivirta during the U13 Division championship game in the Timmins Rock 3-on-3 Holiday Tournament at the McIntyre Arena on Thursday. Team Black went on to edge Team Green 3-2 and claim the U13 title. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

One young goalie even got all of the participating Rock players to sign her helmet.

“Some players who took part in the tournament years ago are still talking about it to this day,” Gooch said.

Given the success of this year’s event, the Rock president expects they will expand the number of teams in all three age categories next year.

Might some of the players who took part in this year’s tournament one day join the Rock themselves?

“Absolutely, we saw some great skaters out there,” Gooch said.

“It doesn’t matter which age level, boys or girls, I couldn’t believe some of the talent we saw out there.

“It would be a great story if they started here and then one day got to put on a Rock jersey, then get to coach in the tournament.”

Rock forward Nicholas Frederick coached his Team Black to a 3-2 win over Team Green, coached by Rock goalie Patrick Boivin and blue-liner Chase Longhurst in the U13 championship game, earning bragging rights in the process.

“It feels good, my first championship won as a coach,” he said, following the championship contest.

“That’s a milestone for me.”

Frederick is, of course, hoping to follow up Thursday’s success by helping bring an NOJHL championship to Timmins in 2023.

“That’s the goal,” he said.

“I think we are all on the same page and we are looking forward to it.”

According to the coach, there is no big secret to why Team Black was successful in the tournament.

“Everyone just worked hard,” Frederick said.

“I said to them, ‘If you work hard, you are going to win this game.’”

Frederick was quick to share credit for Thursday’s victory with his assistant coaches, goalie Patrick Boivin and forward Lucas Piekarczyk.

“Patty and Piesy were doing some good gate opening and closing and even K-Mac (forward Kaeden McArthur) was out there, got to give thanks to those guys,” he said.

Frederick, one of the more talkative members of the Rock, on and off the ice, admitted tales of his team’s victory will be told over and over and over throughout the remainder of the season and into the playoffs.

Team Grey’s Charlie Pirie is denied by Team Black goalie Chelsea Westcott during the U9 Division championship game in the Timmins Rock 3-on-3 Holiday Tournament at the McIntyre Arena on Thursday. Pirie had the last laugh, however, as his Team Grey went on to defeat Team Black 11-5 and win the U9 title. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

The U9 Division championship game saw Team Grey, coached by Rock forwards Nolan Ring and Thomas Beard, skate to an 11-5 win over Team Black, coached by Rock forwards Brady Harroun and Ethan Pool.

Meanwhile, the U11 Division title game saw Team Green, coached by Boivin and Rock forward Hayden Rynard defeat Team Black 8-2, coached by Piekarczyk.

Rock blue-liner Tenzin Nyman, who coached a U13 team with older brother Kenyon, managed to be on the ice for the championship contest even though his team had been eliminated.

“It was my first time refereeing in a game like this,” he said.

“My coaching ability was definitely not there this year but our boys tried hard and everyone had a fun time.”

The younger Nyman still has a couple of years of Junior ‘A’ eligibility left and he hopes to take the experience from this year and apply it to next year’s tournament.

“It is going to be ring season next year for us,” he said, with confidence.”

Nyman enjoyed getting a chance to interact with the youngsters playing in the tournament, both behind the bench and out on the ice with a whistle.

“It was really a lot of fun,” he said.

“They come to our games and support us, so it was our turn to give back and help these guys out.”

Like most of his out of teammates, Nyman got to go home during the break and enjoy Christmas with his family.

“It was a great Christmas,” he said.

“We had a little bit of trouble with the flights, getting home and coming back, but other than that it was a great time.”

For a while, it looked like the Nyman brothers might not make it home, but thankfully they were able to get back to Maple Ridge, B.C., on time.

“We had a family that was willing to take us in for the holiday, but it ended up not having to happen,” he said.

“Our grandparents were supposed to come out this year, but they weren’t able to make it because of flights, but otherwise it was a good Christmas.”

Fully recharged, Nyman is ready for the second half of the regular season and what he hopes will be a very long playoff run for the Rock.

“The boys are ready,” he said.

A pair of home games on the weekend, Friday night against the Cochrane Crunch and Sunday afternoon against the Hearst Lumberjacks, will kick off the second half of the Rock’s regular-season schedule.