After an initial Premier season filled with high and lows the Vaughan Red Wings have returned to build on the success of their first season. Last Fall the Vaughan Red Wings came one OT goal away from eliminating the defending National Champions Brampton Express. Luck unfortunately was not on their side that night and a Frankie Giustini one timer ended their playoff run. The young Wings built on the momentum of their autumn season to head into the summer season and won an astounding 15 games to claim top spot in the 2012 Premier season. A date with the Toronto Polar Bears in the QF round led to the Wings being eliminated to the surprise of many on lookers. Renewed and re-energized the Vaughan Red Wings will look to capture their first Downsview Park Premier Championship.
Anthony Ferrante has had a fantastic beginning for the VRW since their move to the Premier Division. His outstanding play was crucial in the success that his club has attained and moving forward he will play a pivotal part in the continued quest for a Championship season. In front of Ferrante the Wings have a group of defenders that blend the total compliment of skills needed to defend at the highest level. Led by the twin towers Joe Serpe and Taylor Tollefson these two are an intimidating twosome. The speedster of the back line and the top offensive threat Daniel Alonzi has blossomed into an elite defenseman. Captain Philip Ciarabellini adds the leadership and Frankie Grisonich and Brian Rodrigues are steady back liners you will find. Newcomer Michael Bartolomeo will add more depth. Add Phil Varone away working on a professional hockey career and the Wings will be set on the back line for years to come.
With youth comes speed and energy. The VRW can never be accused of lacking in any of those two areas as they have an abundance of both. At the just concluded Canada Cup of Ball Hockey arguably the top player on the VRW was forward Anthony Luciani who dominated the run of play and finished as the leading scorer for his club in the tournament. Sam Renda is a young up and coming superstar who has all the tools and ability to dominate games on his own. The forward group is rounded out with a consistent, solid group that complement each other to the highest degree. Steve Ceccanese has the speed of three forwards and plays with an edge that gets under the skin of opposing teams. Bianca, DaCunha, Mentis, Metallo, Pereira, Perpetua, Valente are key pieces to the cohesive group. Let’s not forget that veteran center and All Star forward from the 2012 season Rob Shilton who just suited up this weekend due to injury.
Head coach and GM Pino Panza is the mastermind behind this group and with his knowledge and game plans the future only looks to be getting brighter for the VRW. In an outstanding pre dispersal draft trades Panza was able to convert his draft picks into defensemen Daniel Sisca from the Mississauga Hawks adding another young super star to his lineup. The Wings are deep at all positions. Panza must work on the discipline of his young club as they have led the league in penalty minutes for their first two seasons at the top level and starting the season off with a 5-1 record beating the Bears, Hawks, Thunder twice and Hitmen to claim a top spot in the young season.
With a group that looks to be on the cusp of becoming the top team in the Province all opponents take heed that the Vaughan Red Wings are here ready, willing and able to take on all comers who stand in their way to becoming Premier Champions.
Next up is an exclusive interview with defenseman Joe Serpe of the Vaughan Red Wings. Joe I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to give the Ball Hockey world a glimpse into the thoughts and life of Joe Serpe.
The Vaughan Red Wings took the Premier by storm in their first full year, what in your mind what are the reasons leading to the success?
I would have to say it’s our high tempo pace of play and the ability to capitalize on turnovers. We have a tone of natural goal scorers and a back end to always keep it close.
After finishing as the number one seed in the summer session you were eliminated by the Polar Bears, basically tell us what happened in the series?
We all know what happened, no need to dwell in the past.
If you had to compare yourself to one NHL Defenceman who would that be?
The coaching staff of the VRW has made you an automatic in the shootouts, it’s rare to see a defensemen taking penalty shots. What’s your secret and how did you get so good at them?
No secret really, just go down and try a dangle.
In the Fall 2011 season the VRW lost a heart breaking semi-final game three overtime to the Brampton Express. What were your feelings after the goal went in to eliminate you?
Wish it was best of five! Great series none the less.
If you could have any defense partner from all the defensemen in the league, other than your current teammates who would it be?
Probably new comer Lui Caruso, I like his game.
If you had to re populate the world with a single female who would it be?
Peter!!! I have a girlfriend...so I would have to say Adriana Lima.
Name us the three forwards that you find the toughest opponents to defend?
Matt Tremblett, Jason Arruda, Mathew Martello...all big boys who battle hard and have skill.
Give us a quick rundown of your ball hockey career when it started, who you’ve played for and what you would like to accomplish in the sport?
2003-05 Toronto Sting (Tier 3), 2005-09 Woodbridge Stars (Tier 4), 2009-10 Spartans (Tier 3), 2010-Current VRW, adding a National Championship to the resume is the main goal.
With the upcoming World Ball Hockey Federation Championships in 2013 what would it mean to you if you were selected to represent your nation of heritage?
It would be awesome just to get invited to try out.
Describe Joe Serpe in three words?
No Big Deal!
The VRW have been the highest PIM team the last two seasons, why?
We play a gritty style, not going to say all our PIM's are hard working penalties but a good chunk of them are.
You’re currently a student. What are you studying and what are your career goals?
I’m in the process of getting an economics degree and I hope it leads to a career in the investment banking Industry.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Bone in Rib-Eye
Can the Vaughan Red Wings win the Fall season and capture one of the coveted Canada Cup of Ball Hockey seeds?
Only time will tell.
Thank You Joe.