Despite only having practised for one hour, Team Newfoundland won the gold medal for under-15 Boys Canadian Ball Hockey Association Junior National championships in Winnipeg last weekend.
Fred Simms, one of the team's coaches from Bay Roberts, says Newfoundland hadn't sent an under-15 team in a long time. This team comprised members from Bay Roberts, central Newfoundland and St. John's.
"Practice time wasn't always available when geographically getting there was a challenge," said Fred Simms, one of the team's coaches. He thinks the team members were already physically fit from playing ice hockey, soccer or from swimming.
With the lack of practice, Team Newfoundland didn't have high expectations for the tournament.
"We went with the mindset that it was going to be a learning experience," said Simms. "We went in with the feeling that we weren't sure if we were going to score a goal let alone win a game."
Simms and Bartlett didn't initially know all of the team members.
"I'm from Bay Roberts and the other coach (Eddie Bartlett) is from St. John's," said Simms. "Between the two of us, we knew all the players."
Winning the championship
Simms' son Cameron is the forward on the team and scored four goals in the tournament.
"Our toughest game was against Winnipeg who won last year," said Cameron Simms. "We started out two-nothing, then they were up two-nothing. But we came together as a team and finished with a 5-3 win. Winnipeg was shocked. They thought they were going to beat us seven-nothing. There were tears coming out of half of their (the players') eyes.
The team hasn't celebrated their championship yet. Cameron Simms says they will have a barbeque when Bartlett comes back from vacation.
Fred Simms believes interest in ball hockey will grow especially since St. John's will host the tournament next year.
"The fact that these boys won brought a lot of attention to it (ball hockey) and the sport of ball hockey will grow," said Simms.