Congratulations to 2023-24 Edmonton City Champions MW402

Millwoods Hockey TeamOur story began two years ago, with the MW402 Bruins of 2021-22.  They were the winners of the u11 Tier 2 Blue Division.  That team had solid reliable team defense, which frustrated their opponents.   They also had a leader that demonstrated that if you work hard and never quit that you can preserve and win gold.

I was given the choice to take up the mantle of MW402 knowing we had big shoes to fill.  I jumped at the challenge to replicate the success we had accomplished before.

We started our season against one of the toughest opponents around, former Edmonton Oiler player Kyle Brodziak’s Warriors.  We eventually fell to the Warriors 4 to 2, and this tough game was the first of several in the tiering round which exposed our need to improve our team’s defense, offense and overall effort.  After the tiering round finished, we were placed into the blue division in tier 2, like the 2021 MW402 team.

The team travelled to Lac La Biche for their first out of town tournament of the year.  The team started to come together as a group but still lost the gold medal game against a very strong host team.  We won silver and discovered that we had 5 very strong defensemen who can shut down opponents.

Shortly after an injured player returned to play, and our 5 defensemen turned into 6, our team rattled off 4 shutout wins in a row, before getting silver medal in the Confed Christmas tournament.  We lost the gold medal game against a strong host team.

We then jumped into Minor Hockey Week; we lost a heart breaker against Leduc in our first game 1-0. Which caused the team to play a more determined style the rest of the tournament, eventually winning the gold medal and trophy!

We did something the 2021 team could not do.  I knew we had a special group.  We finished the regular season with an impressive record of 11-1 and goal differential of +51.  The MW402 was moved up into the Red division for the start of playoffs. Due to the move, we would be placed in last for playoffs.

We played the first-place team in game 1 of the playoffs, it was a battle and a big challenge for the team.  We preserved and came out on top 2-1.  Our defensive play again at the forefront shutting down the big forwards from the top team in u11 tier2 Red.  Our next game, the offence came to play putting up a 6-0 performance, letting the Red division know we are a contender.  We lost the last game of the round robin play in a collapse in the last 5 minutes of the game.  St. Albert pulled their goalie to get the game winning goal and place first in the round.  This placed us second, meaning we had to play a quarter final, then semis, and then finals.

In the quarter finals we had the Confed team that bested us in the Christmas tournament gold medal game.  It was an epic game in which we were behind and had to come back to take the victory from them late in the third period.  What a game, hats off to CO403, one of the top opponents we battled all year long.

In the semifinals we played the top goalie in the division, it took us 46 shots to get 1 goal past him.  This 1 goal proved enough to advance us to the finals.

In the finals we would face the St. Albert team that bested us in round robin play. We had something to prove!  We would not collapse again; we would not let off all game long.  We skated hard, defended hard, and we played an unbelievable game, defeating them 7-1.

What a year!  2 silver medals and 2 gold medals, but more importantly the team came together, and everyone had a role and they played perfectly.  A truly incredible team of young Bruins and I cannot wait to see what they accomplish in the future.

By : Head Coach Jesse Williamson