It may have taken the NHL until June to settle the little matter of the Stanley Cup. But while the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins wage their war on ice for the big trophy, the Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Canadiens competed for the “Little Stanley Cup” earlier this spring.
The East York Hockey Association (EYHA) hosted “Little Stanley Cup Day” at the East York Memorial Arena, and local councillors and other politicians as well as hundreds of parents and fans joined the celebrations.
The Peewee Red Wings dominated the game on their way to a 3-0 victory and custody of the three-foot tall Stanley Cup replica. They celebrated by skating a few laps with the trophy.
The game capped the season for East York Hockey Association house league play. It was an all-day event for hockey school volunteers, instructors, parents and students — an annual occasion to promote young players that opened with politicians’ speeches and then featured youngsters of different age groups playing for their respective teams.
The MP and MPP for Beaches-East York — Matthew Kellway and Michael Prue, respectively — were on-hand.
“I’m very excited. My son is playing today,” said Marcia Burton. “We’ve worked hard through the season. Now we’re very excited for the real game.” Burton’s son Ethan is in Grade 1.
The atmosphere was tense at the arena as hockey players and spectators awaited the puck drop for the final game of the season. It was a matchup between “Detroit” and “Montreal” in a game where players performed at both ends of the ice.
“Today is a combination of our year. It’s the final for all the leagues, from the hockey school up to the major division, and it’s the showing of our efforts,” said EYHA President Art Kennedy. “Little Stanley Cup started in 1954 and has been given out to the Peewee winner every year.”
“We have been around for more than 60 years. The kids play a full season starting in October,” said Peewee convenor Connie Mitchell. “Today is the final day where all the championships get play. Every team has a different trophy. Our Peewee division, which is 11-12 years, play for the Little Stanley Cup.”
She explained that the EYHA was given authority to play for the Little Stanley Cup in the 1954-‘55 season, directly from Clarence Campbell who was president of the NHL at the time.