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It may have been a championship-banner weekend for a Summerside minor hockey team, but the biggest assist was recorded off the ice with a player from another province and division.
The Peewee AA Capitals, featuring 11- and 12-year-old players, won the Peewee A Division of the David Kelly Memorial hockey tournament in Saint John, N.B., last weekend. It was their support of Moncton Hawks’ atom B goaltender Quinton Chung that had the Capitals leaving the Port City as not only champions on the ice but off as well.
“(The Moncton atoms) were playing before us and they were getting beat pretty bad and the boys were watching and they were saying, ‘This kid can really play,’” explained Capitals head coach Jonny McNeill. “He was a good goaltender and he could really move.
“The boys, out of the blue, started cheering for him with every save that he made. As a coach, it was a great feeling to see kids recognize other talents that other kids have and accomplishments they are making when things aren’t going their way.”
“That peewee team was awesome. They deserve hats off for putting confidence in a younger player.”
- Therese Chung
The interactions between Quinton and the Caps didn’t stop at the rink.
“We just walked into the restaurant,” said Quinton’s mother, Therese Chung, “and someone was like, ‘Is that Chung?’
“We were like, ‘Yeah.’
“Then the following morning (at breakfast), the same thing happened and (Quinton) kind of put his head down because he is shy and didn’t talk to anyone. I thought they must have thought he was rude and I talked to him later and said, ‘Doesn’t it feel good to know that not only mom and dad see your hard work?’
“He was like, ‘Yeah, it does.’”
Therese was so appreciative of the Caps’ support of Quinton, which she described as the best part of the tournament, that she emailed the Summerside Area Minor Hockey Association.
“Right now there is so much negativity around and I’m not talking hockey, I’m talking in general,” explained Therese in a phone interview with the Journal Pioneer. “These small gestures mean more than the bigger ones.
“They came from the heart. I came home and sat down and said, ‘I really have to stay thank you to that team.’
“I sat there and it took me about an hour to write (the email) and I was like, ‘Should I send it, should I not?’
“I didn’t tell anybody, I never told my husband (Zafir Chung), because they are going to tell me I am crazy. So I sent it.”
Although Quinton may not realize it, he also had an impact on the Capitals.
“It was an amazing feat to watch and the kid had no quit in him whatsoever and he was just getting peppered (with shots),” said McNeill. “We talked about this no-quit attitude that this kid had and said that’s what it takes to win. It gave our boys a little inspiration.”
Summerside team manager James Wedge said this is a great example of hockey being much more than just a game.
“It’s more about building life-long lessons and that’s something our kids have learned,” said Wedge. “To us, that’s more important than a winning season.”
The Chung family will be forever grateful to the Capitals.
“That peewee team was awesome,” said Therese, who congratulated the Caps on winning the tournament. “They deserve hats off for putting confidence in a younger player.”
The last word goes to Quinton, “Thank you, you made my day there.”
Summerside scores at the David Kelly Memorial hockey tournament:
Summerside 3 Maine 2.
Summerside 5 Hampton 5.
Summerside 8 Lancaster 0.
Summerside 6 Woodstock 2.
Summerside 4 Woodstock 1.
Summerside 3 Maine 0.