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The Lifelong Friendships of Minor Hockey

By Mitchell Machtinger, 11/08/18, 3:00PM EST


"It’s an ongoing family vibe between all of us."

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

It’s been two years since Colton Kammerer last tied up his skates in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association but he still holds a strong connection with his minor hockey experience. Growing up in Brooklin and playing for the Whitby Wildcats, the 17-year-old now mans the blueline for the Sarnia Sting. As the members of that Wildcacts team grow older and the players begin to find their own path in life, there is still the common bond that they can come back to. Many of the Wildcats still feature the team’s catchphrase, #Cats4Life, in their social media profiles.

Even now, the Minor Midget AAA championship season remaining the perfect end to their season, the Wildcats still keep in touch with each other through a group chat.

“It’s an ongoing family vibe between all of us. I don’t think we’re ever really going to lose that,” said Kammerer. “We all go to the same school. As of now, with university coming in the next few years, that could change slightly but for the majority I think we’re all going to be pretty close for the rest of our lives.”

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Through the seasons there was a core of the team that stuck together since Novice. Having a group of teammates spending time and growing together helped build the foundation of lifelong friendships. That bond carried over to the parent group as well, who Kammerer said also became close over the years.

“I think having all that time together, we really created a good bond and our team was just such a good team teamwork wise and working as a team and we never really had any conflicts in the room. I think we were all just great friends and no one on the team had hard feelings with anyone else.”

Now the friendships made have carried over to the next stage of their time in hockey. A defenceman on the Sting, Kammerer is still teammates with goalie Ethan Langevin as the two were drafted together in the 2017 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

“I remember the day we got drafted together, that was special, just knowing that there was a chance in the future we could possibly play together. Now that it’s actually come to life and is real, it’s amazing. We live five minutes away from each other in Sarnia. We see each other every day, we get to go to school with each other still. Just to have that one guy from back home to be here with you... We’re both always there for each other now. We’ll have this bond for the rest of our lives.”

What made the Minor Midget year special for Kammerer and the Wildcats were that they were the first team featured on the Home Ice series. The episodes captured how the players navigated the balance between their lives on and off the ice. Being in front of the camera helped prepare Kammerer for the media interviews he now experiences with the Sting. It was a valuable learning tool for Kammerer who admits he’s gotten a lot better at answering interview questions. Reflecting on Home Ice, Kammerer is happy that he and his teammates will always be able to look back at the episodes, calling it something they can cherish forever.

“I think we were just so close together. It’s a lot different now (in the OHL) because you have guys getting traded and aging out of the league where in minor hockey it’s kind of the same core guys all the way up. We were really able to build a bond and that’s the one thing I miss the most from minor hockey, all the friendships that I had and was able to create and being in that locker room with the same core guys over the years.”

The lessons he learned in minor hockey helped him cherish his time suiting up for his hometown team. He’s gained lifelong friends because of it.

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

“Make sure you enjoy it while it lasts. Every tournament, every game, just make sure you’re prepared and having fun with the team. There’s a point where you need to focus on the game but make sure that you’re having fun with the game. At the end of the day you’re there to play hockey but the team that you’re surrounded by should also be a huge part of it. All in all, enjoy it. Make sure that you put the team first and you’re able to create the team bond. That’s the biggest thing for me.”

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Mitchell Machtinger is the Communications Coordinator at the OMHA. He's worked with various sport organizations and is an avid fan of all sports.

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