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Mississauga Hawks2The Mississauga Hawks, next to the Brampton Express, are the longest serving Premier franchise. After years of Premier battles the Hawks in 2012 turned the face of their club around adding youth and many new faces in a cleansing of a roster that had been together for a decade. Always considered a favourite and contender to the Premier crown, subpar regular seasons have seen the Hawks face heavyweights Toronto Thunder and the Brampton Express in the first round of the post season and eventually see them bowing out early. The future looks bright as a slew of signings and trades have made over the complexion and attitude of the Mississauga Hawks.

The first move was the drafting and signing of goaltender Paul Zarnett who is considered a top notch goaltender. Paul has recently been invited to compete for a spot on Team Canada for the upcoming World Ball Hockey Federation World Championships. The Hawks will lean heavily on their goaltending as they have done in the past to keep them in games which are usually tight hard fought affairs. Paul has enjoyed success at all levels including a Gold Medal at the ‘B’ level Championship. Goaltending will be in good hands for years to come.

Leading the defence core is GM and vocal leader of the Hawks Gurjeet Gill. This veteran defender is the total package and has been rewarded as a Premier All-Star in two of the last three years. Raja Sohal another long standing Hawk has been a core member of the defence group for years. Coming over on draft day was hulking defender Rob Barbowski to join ex Steeler teammate Zarnett. He has added a physical presence at the back end. The biggest and most intimidating of all the defenders has to be Dan Conte. Having been a member of numerous Premier Championships with the Express, Conte has a winning pedigree and the knowledge to help the Hawks persevere to their ultimate goal.

Consummating a trade that rocked the ball hockey world the Hawks were able to obtain arguably the best player in the sport today Matt Tremblett from the Brampton Express. The trade suddenly gave the Hawks a formidable front line attack that could rival any line up in the Premier. Long time Hawks Dave Spadea and Steve Cardoso have always competed at the highest level with remarkable results. The Hawks also signed two big time free agents in JK Gill and Frank D’Ambrosio who have stepped in and made an immediate impact. With all the signings and trades two big name forwards were traded away with Charlie Giffin and Mike Gaggi both finding new homes in the Fall season with the Thunder and Bears respectively. Special teams are a big part of the Premier Division and PK specialist Adrian Goodard blocks more PP shots than his goaltender on many occasions. Add in the likes of Richard Farnum, Harm Deol, Mike Balaban and Allan Penney the Hawks have a deep group of forwards that will battle to the final whistle.

The Hawks have held a top three spot for the majority of the Fall season and are looking to gain one of the two byes in the QF round of the post season. Coach Frank Zampini has led his previous club the Vaughan Jets to numerous Premier Championships has stamped his mark on this club and they will play an intense up tempo game. The Hawks have the makeup of a Championship team, can they have all the pieces fall into place, only time will tell.

This week’s exclusive interview is with one of the most flamboyant, outspoken players in the Premier Division, a Premier all-star and also the GM of the Mississauga Hawks. We are in for a treat.

Gurjeet the first question I have to ask and you’ve probably been asked a million times but why the fluorescent yellow gloves? Is it a fashion statement or personal preference?
During the Canuck days gloves matched the jersey and I think they look good!

The Hawks have been on fire for the bulk of the Fall season chasing down the Orangemen for first place in the division, what has led to the awesome start of the season?
We’ve had a lot of egos on the team the past few sessions, letting them go has created a better atmosphere and attitude on the team.

In a blockbuster trade you acquired arguably the best player in ball hockey in Matt Tremblett. How has that impacted the fate of your franchise?
People don’t realize the impact Matt has on a team, not only is he the best player in ball hockey he elevates other players game to another level and demands one hundred percent effort every game. We have setup ourselves to be a strong contender every session with him in the lineup.

The Hawks definitely have a different look from years past. How would you describe the makeup of the Hawks heading in to 2013?
With the additions of Allan Penny and a committed JK Gill we now have the horsepower up front to support players like Matt in being able to score more and ease the pressure off of our old defense. Other additions from Niagara will significantly help in the summer seasons.

Why haven’t the Hawks won a first round playoff series in their last four tries?
Coaching, lack of commitment and EGOS.

Growing up who was your favourite professional athlete?
Wayne Gretzky.

If you could add any one player to the Hawks lineup who would it be?
Mike Hedden.

What has been Gurjeet Gill's crowning moment in ball hockey to date?
Winning Bronze at the Nationals in Manitoba.

Which forward do you dread seeing coming down your wing?
Marco Goncalves, finishes every run with a hit, plays hard and can score.

Tell us about the impact coach Frank Zampini has had to your club?
He’s been a great addition to the team. The amount of time, effort and energy he spends doing things for this team is unthinkable. Players love him and love playing for him! Considering this is his first full season being in charge I think you can already see a difference in the way the Hawks are playing on both ends of the floor resulting in a noticeable difference in the standings. We’re finally fighting for a first round bye and not a playoff berth.

Canada Cup semi-finals versus the Express, in your eyes what went wrong?
I think we focused too much on scoring and forgot about defense…when’s the last time you saw the Hawks score six against anyone (prior to this season)?...

One person in history you would like to meet?
Bill Clinton…I wanna know how he got away with it!

In three words describe Gurj Gill?
Direct, sarcastic and devoted family man.

Favourite meal you can never get enough of?
Grilled cheese from construction site.

Final question can the Hawks win the 2012 Fall season?
In theory any one of the seven teams can win the fall session however to save everyone’s time might as well crown us the champs right now.

Never afraid to speak the truth, thanks for taking the time to chat with us Mr. Gurjeet Gill of the Mississauga Hawks.

Peter Lorusso
Premier Commissioner

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