2023 national mens u18 championship jr canadiens central

Road to the Men’s U18 National Club Championship: Toronto Jr. Canadiens

With a focus on consistency and culture, the Central Region champions are going one game at a time as they challenge for a national title

Jonathan Yue
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April 22, 2023
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When head coach Rick Varone and his coaching staff came together to build the roster for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens at the start of the season, they knew they wanted to build a team that would be able to continue the professionalism and culture found throughout the organization.

Working hard for each other, on and off the ice, the Central Region champions have found success and believe that if they can take each game as they come and learn from them, they’ll have a chance at the Men’s U18 National Championship.

“We’re never looking too far ahead,” Varone says. “We’re focused on the present and if we take care of things today, it will set us up for tomorrow and that’s really been the key for us all year.”

During the regular season, Toronto topped the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) with a 31-3-2 record before losing only three times in the playoffs. After defeats at the hands of the Oshawa Generals and Windsor Jr. Spitfires in the preliminary round at the Central Regional, the Jr. Canadiens learned from their loss, defeating the Jr. Spitfires 6-3 in the Central final.

Leading the Jr. Canadiens on the road to nationals has been the production and work ethic of a pair of 16-year-old rookies, Luciano Bruno and Lirim Amidovski. The duo combined to score 12 of the team’s 31 goals during the regional tournament, including six of the nine scored on the power play.

Varone emphasizes that it’s the commitment to consistency and the team’s culture that has taken Toronto to the next level.

“Our players have done a phenomenal job ensuring that the culture has remained the same all year,” Varone says. “The ability to show up for big games, the comradery of the players throughout the organization, it pushes the elite players, and everyone understands how to play their game within the team structure.”

Toronto opens its Men’s U18 National Club Championship on April 24 against the Pictou County Majors.

HOW THEY GOT TO SAINT-HYACINTHE

Greater Toronto Hockey League
Quarterfinal: defeated Toronto Red Wings 3-1 (2-3, 4-0, 5-0, 3-2)
Semifinal: defeated Toronto Young Nationals 3-2 (5-2, 4-1, 1-4, 1-6, 4-3)
Final: defeated Vaughan Kings 3-0 (3-0, 6-1, 6-1)

Central Regional
Preliminary round: 3-2– second place (lost to Oshawa Generals 3-2, defeated North Bay Trappers 6-1, lost to Windsor Jr. Spitfires 4-3 OT, defeated Elgin-Middlesex Canucks 3-2, defeated Kemptville 73’s 5-1)
Semifinal: defeated Elgin-Middlesex Canucks 6-2
Final: defeated Windsor Jr. Spitfires 6-3

REGULAR SEASON

Record: 31-3-2 (1st in GTHL)
Goals for: 173 (1st in GTHL)
Goals against: 48 (1st in GTHL)

PLAYOFFS
Record: 9-3
Goals for: 44
Goals against: 23

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

2006 – Toronto Jr. Canadiens | fourth place | 3-4 | 25GF 23GA

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LUCIANO BRUNO
Compete level is through the roof … never satisfied … work ethic that pushes the team

PAOLO FRASCA & EVAN MAILLET
Luxury to have in net … brings championship experience … a rock all year

NATHAN GAYMES
Work ethic is second to none … motivates the team … stepped up in the postseason

OHL DRAFTED PLAYERS

Andoni Fimis – Kingston Frontenacs 2022 (5th round, 99th overall)
Mason Taylor – Flint Firebirds 2022 (7th round, 140th overall)
Lirim Amidovski – North Bay Battalion 2022 (9th round, 181st overall)
Alexander Stephen – North Bay Battalion 2021 (10th round, 182nd overall)
Christopher Soares – Sarnia Sting 2022 (11th round, 221st overall)
Carson Littlejohn – Guelph Storm 2022 (12th round, 235th overall)
Luciano Bruno – Kingston Frontenacs 2022 (13th round, 259th overall)
Nathan Gaymes – Windsor Spitfires 2022 (15th round, 286th overall)

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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