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Essay Contest Grand Prize Winner Announced

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 04/13/18, 11:00AM EDT


All Finalists revealed for 2018 Essay Contest presented by Respect in Sport

The Ontario Minor Hockey Association is proud to announce the grand prize winner and finalists of the fourth annual Essay Contest presented by Respect in Sport. This year's theme was ‘Being Part of a Team Means'. The contest was designed to engage players in an educational manner while encouraging them to express their thoughts on what life skills they learn from playing hockey.

Over 200 essays were submitted and the Ontario Minor Hockey Association in partnership with Respect in Sport want to thank everyone for their participation. Based on the quality, creativity and passion demonstrated in their submission, five finalists were selected with one of them emerging as our grand prize winner.

Reece Northcutt of the Whitby Minor Hockey Association is this year’s winner who wrote about the importance of supporting teammates and representing his city. For being named winner, Reece will receive a $1000 worth of CCM Hockey Gear.

“The Ontario Minor Hockey Association is proud of all of the Essay Contest participants for their examples of positive life skills and the impact they are making on and off the ice in their hockey communities," said OMHA Executive Director Ian Taylor. "All of the essays submitted showed that the future of hockey is in a great place and that what we are teaching our players is more than just hockey skills."

“Respect in Sport is about providing a positive environment for all, so that hockey players can enjoy the game, and learn from the positive adult role models around them, like parents, coaches, and officials,” said Respect Group's Ontario Director Mark Allen. “Respect Group is very proud to support the OMHA Essay Contest and wants to thank every player who submitted an essay and also congratulate the five Finalists."

Javier Martinez (Centre Wellington), Oscar Brown (Northumberland), Owen Munnings (Dunnville) and Ronin Walji (Unionville) were selected as the four finalists. For their tremendous writing abilities they will receive an OMHA prize pack.

Grand Prize Essay

Reece Northcutt - Whitby

My name is Reece and I am a 10 year old goalie who plays rep hockey for the Whitby Wildcats. Being part of a team means a lot of things and I would like to share what being a part of a team means to me.

The best part of belonging to a team is getting to hang out with your friends. At the beginning of the season we are a bunch of players who play hockey. In a short period of time we become a bunch of friends who play hockey together.

On the ice we support each other with positive comments. We can’t win on our own. We need to play our positions and work together to support each other.

Being part of a team means we have to listen to our coaches. We have to show up to practice and be on time. Our coaches help us learn and develop as players. We respect each other on and off the ice. Being a team is also respecting the other team. Someone has to win, lose or tie in every game and it may be our team next time.

The most fun part for me is wearing my uniform. When people see me wearing my blue Whitby Wildcats jacket they know I am part of a team. They may know some of my friends. The might wish they were part of a team just like me.

Finalist Essays

Javier Martinez - Centre Wellington

Being a part of a hockey team means many things to me. I play Atom A for a team called Centre Wellington Fusion. First, I like that I’m representing my community when I play for my hockey team. I live in a beautiful community with lots of nice people so I am proud to represent Fergus and Elora by playing hockey. When I go to another arena, I try to show good sportsmanship so that people know what a great community I come from.

Second, thanks to hockey, I’ve made many friends. Some of my best friends play on my hockey team and I am lucky to see them almost every day. Seeing my friends at the arena makes me feel calm and happy because they always make me laugh and cheer me on. When we go to tournaments, we get to stay at hotels. My friends and I swim in the pool together and play mini sticks in the halls of the hotels.

Third, being part of a team is what allows me to play my favourite game, hockey. I like playing hockey for exercise, speed, shooting and passing. When I play hockey as a team, I love celebrating with my teammates when I score, cheering on my teammates, and working together to make nice plays. Hockey wouldn’t be hockey without my team. Being part of a team means representing my community, making friendships and playing the game I love.

Oscar Brown - Northumberland

Being a part of a team means always having friends to count on and friends that count on me.

I know that on or off the ice, my teammates expect me to always try my hardest, to be a fair sport and to be a good person. We all represent each other on our teams, at school and in our community.

Being in a team also means that I have friends to celebrate with and pals to support me when we don't do our best. I am the goalie on our Minor Bantam AA team and being a goalie means that you are by yourself a lot of the time. Having my teammates to celebrate big wins with and to even share losses with makes me really feel like part of the team. We support each other. They congratulate me on big saves and I cheer for their beauty goals.

Being a part of the team also gives me a sense of pride. When you belong on a team you feel proud to walk into the arena with your dress clothes on, and to go to events with your matching coats and hats. Everyone recognizes that you belong to the Nighthawks and want to ask questions and talk about hockey with you.

And finally, belonging to a team means that I will have friends for life. Lots of my teammates have played with me since we were little. We have become close friends and I know that once we are older, and have our own kids in hockey, we will help coach their teams and probably play in a men's league together - as teammates again.

Once a teammate, always a teammate!

Owen Munnings - Dunnville

Being a part of a team means keeping your focus on what hockey is truly about, which is having fun. It may be surprising that a good team is not always a team that wins most of their games, it is a team that works together, whether on or off the ice. It is a team that is willing to learn from their mistakes, and keep a positive attitude. A good team constantly watches for ways they can learn from their losses. A good team supports each other, and includes everyone. Individual players look for the assist, rather than just goals because they want to do all they can to support their team mates.

Being a part of a team, means that everyone participates, giving their best effort at practice as well as games. It’s everyone’s responsibility to play their best. If you work as a team, you will play much better than if one person is doing all the work. No team can succeed on one player. A good team player encourages their teammates, and under no circumstances, mocks someone’s mistakes. They set an example, by listening to their coach, and being willing to learn. They keep a positive attitude, even after a hard loss. They celebrate each other’s achievements. It is in this way that each player can contribute to the team, and be a team player while keeping the focus on what hockey is about, which is having fun.

Ronin Walji - Unionville

My name is Ronin Walji and I started skating when I was 5 years old. Now I am 6 years old. My mom signed me up for house league hockey and I am on team white. Coach Ray is my coach, and he invited me on the Jets select team because he saw that I love hockey.

I made lots of new friends being on a hockey team. On the team, we learn how to pass, play our positions, and work together. We don't always win, but we are still learning and we always have fun. We even have lots of fun together when we are not playing hockey and doing other stuff.

One day I went public skating at Crosby Arena, and I met some boys who were 11 years old and they were on the Jets like me and we all became friends. The next day, I saw them in the hallway at school and they said hi to me and it felt really good, like I was on their team. I now meet them after school every Tuesday at Crosby Arena and we play "Manhunt" on the ice and whoever is the last one caught wins. They told me that I was a good skater and were teaching me how to skate better and said to be a good hockey player I should practice backwards crossovers. Being on a team means helping others to get better.

Being part of a team means I always have good friends who love to play hockey and like to do the same stuff.

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