By Mike Williamson – firstname.lastname@example.org
A group of area hockey players that have played together since they were five years old has made a name for themselves in not only the state of Michigan but in hockey rinks across the U.S.
The Chelsea Chiefs hockey team won the U-14 Tier 2 state championship last week and will move on to the National tournament in April.
The team consists of players from Chelsea, Dexter, Ann Arbor, Tecumseh, Pinckney, and Owosso, with many of the player choosing not to play high school hockey this season with hopes of big things with the Chief’s and it paid off.
Eight years ago when this group of kids started playing together under coach Tom Capper, the Chiefs were ranked in the 300 range in the national ranking by myhockeyrankings.com and today they are ranked 6th in the nation.
The team has progressively improved year over year. They started out playing in the lowest division in LCAHL and finished playing in the top division in the state.
In the hockey community, the Chelsea Chiefs were only known as that small town team just west of Ann Arbor. Never a threat. Today the team is well known from Chicago to Buffalo and Toronto to Nashville. In the last two years, this team competed with the best teams from this region
“I sat the boys down in April last year after losing in semifinals at the state tournament,” Coach Capper said. “If we were going to make another run at states we needed each players commitment. The boys elected to skip their opportunity to play for their high schools as freshman and make a run at states.”
The seasons opening Bauer tournament in September pulled all the best teams from the US. teams Chicago to Buffalo down to Nashville. The boy won the tournament by knocking out two of the most recognized and top-ranked teams in youth hockey. The Highland Park Falcons out of Chicago and Little Caesars out of Detroit. This tourney win put Chelsea as the team to beat on everyone’s list.
They won the Chelsea Hockey Association regular season and playoff titles before moving on to the state tournament
In districts, the Chiefs knocked off the 2nd ranked team in the state the Grand Rapids Blades 5-2 in a game that was tied 2-2 after two periods.
The state tourney saw them open with an impressive 6-1 win over a Saginaw Spirit team that had beaten them earlier in the season.
They then rolled to wins over Kensington Valley 6-3, Plymouth 7-0, and Traverse City 4-1 to reach the championship game
“The final game against Troy was in front of the biggest crowd they had ever played in front of,” Capper said.
They dominated the game from the start and cruised to 7-2 win.
“All the tough battles all year, all the ties and loses against these same teams and here they were just laser focused and putting on a clinic,” Capper said.
Team members include Chelsea’s Corbin Steele, Jack Capper, Tyler Valik, and Brendan Wescott. Dexter players include Joey Fracassi, Andrew Schultz, and Gabriel Burke. Nicklas LaVasseur and Dylan Leighton represent Pinckney, Cayden Brush, David Clark, and Cade McCrate from Tecumseh, James Newton, Ethan Kotre, and Jack Ceccacci Ann Arbor, and Logan Sarrazin from Owosso.
The team will be playing in the National tournament the first week of April in Amherst, New York.
The Chiefs are looking for help to pay for the trip and a Go Fund Me page has been started on their behalf. To help them, you can help them at https://www.gofundme.com/2cysw-national-tournament.