There are few teams that can be spoken of as a dynasty team. They are few and far between but the North York Hitmen are staking a serious claim to becoming the next dynasty team of this era. The Hitmen have now won the last four Premier BIG Championships which include the Fall/Winter 2013/14 season, 2014 Summer Pre Season Tournament, Summer 2014 season and most recently Fall/Winter 2014-15 session. Now that’s a hefty accomplishment for any team to amass and the North York Hitmen are showing no signs of slowing down. There latest triumph saw them eliminate both the Vaughan Red Wings and the Toronto Thunder to stake claim to their 4th Championship title. Jonathan Pulicicchio, for his outstanding contribution throughout the playoffs, was named Playoff MVP for the Fall season and has become the go to guy for the Hitmen and has risen to an elite superstar of the Premier Division.
What makes the Hitmen such a formidable group? You must look no further than the back end. All great teams need a solid goaltender, a keeper that gives his team a chance to win every night, and the Hitmen have that jewel in Dave Clark. No matter the game, series or situation Dave is as cool a customer you’ll find. Never rattled by a goal Dave refocuses and plays every game as if it’s an elimination game with his back against the wall never wanting to give up the next goal.
With the goaltending in good hands the defence are as solid a group that you’ll find anywhere in ball hockey today. Led by arguably the top defencemen in the game today Victor Azevado is the consummate superstar. His gracefulness with the ball, speed, reach, aggression and desire are all the qualities that a top defencemen must have to excel. A gifted forward Victor adds that offensive punch from the backend that helps the offence roll. Along with Victor, Joe Meleca, Danny Rocha and Carlos Arce comprise a top four defence core that anyone would want to go to battle with.
The Hitmen are deep at the forward position and a lot of the credit goes to the little engine that could and his name is Jonathon Pullichio. As gifted a forward you’ll find anywhere in the game Jonathon leads the charge and never backs down. All the tools and the tool box to house them Jonathon can beat you with his speed, shot or stick handling and his leadership on and off the floor are top notch and is the glue that keeps the group together. The acquisition of Jonathon Poirier may have been the biggest signing for the club ever. This sniper just scores goals and big ones at that. Peter Bello, Tyson Dileo, Anthony Novia and the rest of the Hitmen forwards combine for as deep a group you’ll find that know how to win.
Now for the best prepared man in Ball Hockey coach Angelo Gaetano and his right hand man Pat Ventullo. I don’t think there’s anyone in the sport that prepares his team as Angelo does for every game. He even has a five page report on how to defend the Commissioner and I haven’t played for ten years. Being prepared is half the battle and the Hitmen are always prepared. Never one to work on a game day Angelo spends his time pouring over pages and pages of game day matchups to make sure his players are always prepared for the task at hand. Has it worked? Four straight championships, I think he’s doing something right. The self proclaimed "Rattlesnake" of ball hockey Angelo Gaetano is always ready to give his opponents a "Stone Cold Stunner" to end the game. All kidding aside when Angelo walks into a rink there’s only three things on his mind, Win, Win, Win.
With the commencement of a new season the biggest question on everyone’s mind is who can stop the Hitmens reign as Champions? It may be the most storied franchise in Ball Hockey history the Brampton Midnight Express. Could it be the Metro Orangemen or the revamped and loaded Vaughan Red Wings. Let’s not count out the Toronto Thunder who have fallen victim twice in the four time Hitmen run to Championships. The Barrie Flyers are looking for revenge after their 1-0 loss in game 3 of last year’s quarter final matchup to the Hitmen and the young guns of the division the Richmond Hill Falcons are looking forward to commencing a streak of their own as Champions in the ultra-competitive Premier Division.
I'd like to finish off and say Congratulations to the entire North York Hitmen Ball Hockey Club on their most recent Championship!