The hockey cup is coming to Osceola County!
It’s junior league, but anytime Floridians go into Canada and beat the northerners at their own game, it’s noteworthy.
The Kissimmee Stars Squirt team (Under-10), which plays out of the Ice Factory in Kissimmee, won the Quebec Cup in Quebec, Canada, earlier this year, beating players and teams from Canada, Vermont and the upper Midwest.
“As you know, ice hockey was born in Canada, and for our players from a little rink next to a cow pasture to win this it is a big deal,” said Head Coach Chris Reo. “It’s always a gamble to play kids in places where they play all the time.”
The Stars went 4-0 in the round robin play without surrendering a goal, earning them the top seed in the championship round.
“It was a shock on my part we went undefeated,” said Reo, who coaches his son, Cameron, as part of a roster of nearly all Osceola County players. “We just wanted to win one or two for the experience, but these kids won it all.”
In the championship game against Vermont, the Stars gave up their first goal of the tournament early in the first period, but they rallied to tie the game in the second period with a goal by David Korenbilt, and took the lead late in the second period when Alaric Turman found the back of the net. The Stars locked down Vermont’s offensive zone in the third period to win, 2-1, and bring the Quebec Cup to Kissimmee.
Reo said most of the Stars’ players began in the Ice Factory’s youth programs, from the Learn To Skate program on Saturday to an in-house hockey league on Fridays. The facility can loan most of the equipment to newcomers for the first month or so to gauge if the kids like it, and what equipment of their own they need.
“Most of kids on that team have been playing three to four years, worked their way up to select travel league,” Reo said. “Hockey beats sweating or getting eaten by mosquitoes on a soccer field. It’s 55 degrees in our building.”
Most of the players will be part of a Memorial Day weekend tournament in Tampa, which the Stars are now practicing for. By next year the bulk of the team will be in the Pee Wee division (11 years old), Reo said, and the goal will be to win in the much more competitive Pee Wee Quebec tournament.
Reo is assisted by Paul Johnson and Mike Comiskey, Team Manager Eric Rund and Trainer Gus Dumoulin.
The players are: goalie Sean McQuade, forwards Quincy Leibell, Cameron Reo, Chase Miranda, David Korenbilt. Nicholas Chatron, Nathan Boone, Matthew McClelland, Alaric Turman and Tennyson Turman; and defenders Jackson Rung, Charlie Cuprill, Grace Comiskey and Jeremy Cislo.