With patience comes reward. Nothing else could describe the Metro Orangemen’s rise to the top of the Premier standings. Entering the Premier Division in 2009 the Orangemen has patiently and methodically worked their way to the top of the current 2012 Premier Fall standings. With a lineup that has grown and matured over four years of Premier action, the hard work and sacrifice have started to pay dividends. A team that has been offensively challenged have suddenly become a club that can score with the likes of the Express and Thunder. GM Marcel Vieira pulled the trigger on a blockbuster trade that added four key pieces to the puzzle, veteran leadership, offence and experience at the highest level of competition. The return of power forward John DaRocha to the Orangemen lineup has drastically changed the offensive outlook of a team that has searched for goals in the previous four seasons.
The Orangemen have always had a solid back end, defending was never an issue. Following in the footsteps of such stellar net minders as Paul Zarnett and Turab Bokhari current stopper Craig Flegel has earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath as goaltenders that have preceded him. His solid play and domination in the shootouts have his confidence and numbers at a career high. A vocal leader who is not afraid to voice his opinion Craig will be relied on to backstop the Orangemen to a long and fruitful Premier seasons now and in the coming years.
Defence has been the bread and butter of the Orangemen. With two Premier superstars Chris Creador and Chris Cerquiera already anchoring a solid group GM Vieira went out and traded for Premier All-Star defensemen Danny Pacheco from the Toronto Thunder. With arguably the best top three defensemen trio on any team the back end is in good hands. Add three young rear guards in Adam Carreira, Joe Pontes and Jason Queiroga a solid group that can defend against any team in the division. Pacheco adds a whole bag of tricks as he takes draws, plays the PP and has been a top offensive threat for years and changes the complex of the Orangemen attack.
The forwards and offence of the Orangemen can now only be described in one word ‘WOW’. Ricardo Pires has blossomed into a top flight sniper that has all the tools needed to dominate and will be a top five scorer in the division for years to come. Also coming over in the big off season trade were three offensive minded players, Glen Bradbury and Andy Pacheco have put up big numbers on every team they have suited up for and Rick DaPonte may possess the hardest shot in Premier today and his dominance in the shootouts has already earned the Orangemen three crucial points in the dreaded extra shots. DaRocha returning was like winning the lottery and a new look front end was built. Steve Lindo, Terry Roache, Paul Lima and chief agitator Gary Costa balance out a solid group of forwards that will challenge as the top offensive group of the division. The power play unit now looks completely different and will instill fear into the stingiest of all penalty kill units teams can throughout against the revamped Orangemen.
GM Marcel Vieira and bench staff Manny Correia and Glen Bradbury Sr. will keep this group grounded and have them ready and willing to compete at the highest level night in night out. We may be witnessing the passing of the guard in the Premier Division and this young group may become the next dominant force in the Premier Division.
We were very fortunate to gain an exclusive interview with GM and Head Coach of the Metro Orangemen Marcel Vieira as he shares his feelings and knowledge with Ball Hockey fans across the country.
Marcel at press time the Metro Orangemen are leading the Premier standings, what do you contribute the early season success and can your squad continue its high level of play through an eighteen game regular season?
A well balanced lineup, timely scoring and the addition of the players attained in the trade with the Thunder has improved the depth of our lineup allowing us to compete on a nightly basis.
In order to have continued success the players need to stick to the game plans and take nobody lightly. In what had to be the trade of the season you acquired four players Danny and Andy Pacheco, Rick DaPonte and Glen Bradbury to add a veteran presence to your lineup, how has the trade helped your squad?
The experience they have added to the lineup has given the younger players a stronger sense of commitment and discipline. They have also instilled a winning atmosphere that rubbed off on the entire team. No lead is safe, as we’ve shown in the first half of the season, we never give up and the majority of our scoring happens in the last five minutes of the game.
Ricardo Pires has come in to his own and is one of the premier snipers in the league, since last summer he’s been unstoppable, what from a coaches standpoint has he done to elevate his game?
Ricardo has dedicated himself to becoming the best player he possibly can by setting goals and striving to achieve them. His commitment at both ends of the rink makes my job easier when I look down the bench.
After struggling to score goals, the Orangemen are suddenly scoring in bunches, including a thrilling three goal outburst in two minutes against VRW, where are all these goals coming from?
Hard work! We’ve always worked hard and are finally capitalizing on our chances. The new additions have increased our scoring depth and have given us a well balanced attack.
With the competition at an all-time high, which team do you feel will give the Orangemen the toughest test in the fall season?
The caliber in Premier is at an all-time high, and every team can win on any night. You have to go through everybody to be crowned Champions, so we will be ready for whoever we face.
Tell us how the Orangemen came in to existence?
The Orangemen were built through grass roots ball hockey sessions at the Wallace Emerson and McCormick community center’s fifteen years ago. It’s grown from there and the group has progressed its way in to the OBHA commencing at the junior level and climaxing to where we are today reaching the Premier level since 2008. Our crowning moment was capturing the 2008 “B” Eastern Regional Championships.
Describe Marcel Vieira in three words?
Wow that’s a tough one…Passionate, Dedicated, and Inspirational.
One beverage for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Who in your mind are the top three players in Premier?
With all the great players in Premier it’s a tough choice…but my three would be Ricardo Pires, Chris Creador and Adam Carreira…but I’m not bias at all!
With the fate of the world resting on a single penalty shot, who would be your choice?
No question Rick DaPonte, a gifted player with an incredible shot.
Who is your favourite professional sports team?
Even though they suck, I’m a diehard Toronto Maple Leaf fan, hopefully they can win a Stanley Cup in my life time.
One person in history you would like to meet?
Wayne Gretzky, the Great One, I would love to pick his brain.
Your top linemates of all time, as you have had plenty in your wonderful career?
The dynamic duo Paul Duarte and Tony Monteiro.
If you had to choose an actor to portray yourself in a movie who would it be?
Emilio Estevez ‘Coach Bombay’ from the Mighty Ducks as I’m affectionately called by the players.
Words to live by?
‘Can’t Hack It Stay Home’
Marcel Thank You for taking your time to share your thoughts and wisdom with the Ball Hockey Nation.