The Elgin Middlesex Chiefs 2002 Minor Midget AAA team started the 201-18 year with specific goals and strategies. With 10 new players to the team, the first was to bond and gel as a unit – while at the same time working to improve and expand the skill set of each of the players.
Beginning last May, that objective as a team began with on-ice training and dryland sessions, and in the process the boys were introduced to a new facility in London called Snipe Academy.
Launched by a AAA hockey coach, the Academy offers well-structured programs – with high-quality instructors – for players looking to improve little things within their game that can make a big difference.
For the Minor Midget Chiefs, that meant private on-ice one-on-one training with the Snipe Academy’s Rapid Shot program, which was implemented for each player with the objective of increasing passing speed, shot speed, reaction time, and accuracy.
The focus was on improvement and increasing player strength, and this was a key component in the scoring ability of both the Chiefs’ offensive and defensive lines. The results were particularly seen from mid-season onward. Despite a slow start, the Minor Midgets climbed steadily in the second half to finish in fifth place (due to a win-loss points tiebreaker with Waterloo). They enjoyed an 11-game undefeated streak, and from Dec. 12 until the end of the year they posted an impressive record of 17-4-4, including regular season and playoff games. In other words, player development soared in the second half.
The Chiefs were one of two teams with players in the top 6 in points in the Alliance, including Rylan Bowers (27 goals and 50 assists for 77 points) and Michael McKnight (21 goals and 44 assists for 65 points). And the Chiefs became the team to watch by the Ontario scouting agency going into the playdown rounds.
And watch they did, as four Chiefs were chosen in the OHL draft, including Nathan Small (Owen Sound Attack, 7th round, 129th overall), Rylan Bowers (Mississauga Steelheads, 12th round, 238th overall), Michael McKnight (Mississauga Steelheads, 14th round, 268th overall), and Billy Faragher, (Sarnia Sting, 15th round, 299th overall).
Success is a journey. And for the Minor Midget Chiefs, it began with preparation. Snipe Academy proved to be an instrumental tool on that path, and we’re excited to continue working with the team there to improve the skills of all our players.
Submitted by Snipe Academy