St. Mike’s Majors are back!
Major Junior Hockey is back in Toronto. With this season’s return of the St. Mike’s Majors to the OHL, St. Michael’s College restores the heritage and the history that goes along with junior hockey in Toronto. The club has done well so far with a 6-10-5 record. They are currenlty 5th in their division.
St. Micheal’s College was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1852. It has since been a institution with a repuations for academic as well as athletic excellence. At the beginnning of this century Father Henry Carr began to make many changes to the Catholic school. His goal was to get the school to be more like the high schools around it and to become more involved with sports. Father Carr believed that athletics halped boys develop into men. He also saw sports as a way to attract publicity.
He formed a league with other private catholic schools and success came quickly. St. Michael’s College, won the league title in 1907. The Majors continued it’s success through the decade winning title after title. This success was noticed by the NHL. Conn Smyth, the man who brought the Toronto Maple Leafs (then known as the Toronto St. Patricks), through the 1920′s began the association with St. Mike’s. In 1928 Joe Primeau was the first St. Michael’s aluminus to go onto the big leagues.
To follow him were 139 more graduates. Players such as Red Kelly, Ted Lindsay, Frank Mahovlich, Dave Dryden, and Gerry Cheevers all cracked NHL line ups and are all immortalized in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The tradition will hopefully continue on with this squad.
NHL veteran Mark Napier is the coach of the renewed St. Mike’s Majors. While plans for a new facility are being made, Napier is still figuring out how to handle his players. Through the expansion draft St. Mike’s aquired many solid OHLers. On defense they are solid with Rob Stanfield, and Jason Cannon. Andre Lakos from Germany is also looking quite promising. Up front they have former Ottawa 67, Steve Zoryk who is currently leading the team in points. Sean Murphy (Son of Mike Murphy, Leafs head coach) is playing well. The first draft pick in this summer’s OHL draft Charlie Stephens has not been seeing a lot of ice time, he has not yet earned a lot of time with only 9 points in 21 games, St. Mike’s is looking for a better performance from him. In net they have two young goaltenders, in Bujar Amidovski and Corey Batten.
All high-school aged players are required to attend classes at the St. Michael’s campus, while a curriculum has been made for university-aged players that lets them study courses at the University of Toronto. Players are not required to be Catholic but they have to respect the school’s Catholic tradition. St. Mike’s will carry on Father Carr’s vision in excelling in academics and athletics. They will have already taken one step with coming back to the OHL but it’s up to the players, to see how far they can carry this tradition.