Don Mills FlyersNone scheduled.
Minor AtomNone scheduled.
Minor PeeweeNone scheduled.
Minor BantamNone scheduled.
Minor MidgetNone scheduled.
News & Events
- "Brandon Ng - A Double Threat" - By Ryan Wolstat - The Toronto Sun
- "A minor hockey team with major bloodlines" - By Lois Kalchman
- "Don Mills Flyers" - By Lois Kalchman - The Toronto Star
- "Don Mills Flyers - Underachievers look on the bright side" - By Marc Paulichenko
- "Don Mills Flyers - Flyers learn desire, commitment" - By Marc Paulichenko
- "High Flyers" - By Ryan Wolstat - The Toronto Sun Minor Hockey Beat
"Brandon Ng - A Double Threat"
Brandon Ng is not your average 14-year old. While most kids his age spend their free time playing video games or hanging out at malls, Ng doesn't really have any free time.
He's either on the ice or on the links.The Upper Canada College student took up hockey at age seven and is now an assistant captain with the Don Mills Flyers Triple-A Bantam club of the Greater Toronto Hockey League and captained UCC to an Ontario Independent Schools under-14 championship last season.
Though Ng is a solid hockey player, it is on the golf course where he has found his greatest success.
After years of concentrating on hockey through countless lessons, practices and games, Ng began taking golf more seriously the past two years and the results have been impressive. Last summer, he won the Ontario Juvenile Championship, open to all players in the province under the age of 16 and finished second in the under-18 category. Ng is also a former CN Future Links Quebec bantam champion and was the low Canadian at the Junior World Championship in San Diego last July. Success has definitely not gone to the soft-spoken teenager's head. In fact, he says he's never really thought of himself as a good hockey player because of his diminutive size and only recently recognized his skill on the golf course.
"People told me I was OK (at golf)," Ng says. "But I didn't realize I was good until this year. I won some tournaments and got more confidence."
The strong results have prompted Ng, who first tried golf at age eight after watching his father (John) play, to commit to the sport more thoroughly.
"During the summer I play five or six times a week, but in the past, during hockey season, I didn't really touch my clubs until March," he says. That won't be the case this year, since he doesn't want to be rusty when he travels to South Carolina, where Ontario's top eight golfers in Ng's age group will take on South Carolina's best in a few months.
Ng continues to play for the Flyers and UCC's team and hasn't totally written off hockey, but admits he likes "golf better because I have more success at it."
Getting the chance to play around the world certainly doesn't hurt golf's cause either. Ng says
the highlight of his travels so far was an August visit with the Canadian Junior Golf Association to St. Andrew's, Scotland, known as the birthplace of golf. Ng and the Canadian team played against Scotland and the U.S. and got to check out some renowned courses.
Golf and hockey leave precious little spare time for the studious Ng, who, while still young,has already thought about getting an NCAA golf scholarship and seeing where that takes him.The path that has taken Ng to where he is now amuses his proud father.
"Dave Woods (one of Canada's most respected golf instructors) was my coach four years ago and though he doesn't normally give kids lessons, Brandon took a lesson with him at nine years old and has been with him ever since," John Ng says.
Woods is the director of golf at Angus Glen and also coaches Team Ontario and the University of Toronto's golf squads. He's compared Brandon's play at such a young age favourably to other talented youngsters he has coached, including Jon Mills who is heading to the PGA Tour this year after starring on the Nationwide circuit with David Hearn (another of Woods' former pupils).
Gary Tamane, the coach of the Don Mills Flyers, is a friend of John Ng, who is also the team's manager. Tamane can identify better than most with the Ng's situation. His 19-year-old son, Brent, is with the Ontario Blue Jays baseball club, plays for the Oshawa Dodgers of the Intercounty Baseball League and is also a standout hockey player who led the Jr.A Toronto Canadiens in scoring last season. The elder Tamane understands full well that juggling success in two sports with studies is not an easy task.
"Brandon's one of our assistants, does really well in school, travels all over the world and was in the U.S. three or four times (for golf) last year," he says. "They have to really manage his lifestyle." Tamane does everything possible to aid Ng's balancing act. "I wouldn't step in his way if he had to miss a game," he says. "I don't want Brandon to have to choose at 14 years old."
Thanks to understanding parents and coaches, he won't have to make that decision just yet.
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"A minor hockey team with major bloodlines"
Special to The Toronto Star - 2007.10.06
One team, 18 Stanley Cups.
When was the last time a Toronto team had something like that to brag about?
The Don Mills Flyers, a very unusual minor atom hockey team of 8- and 9-year-old boys, can trace their ties to all 18 cups through family connections.
There's Blake. His dad, Paul Coffey, is the assistant coach for the minor AAA team and a four-time Stanley Cup winner with the Edmonton Oilers.
Over there is George; his granddad is Red Kelly, who won eight Cups with Detroit and Toronto. Then there's Tyson, son of Doug Gilmour, a Cup winner with the Calgary Flames. And Callum; his great uncle Carl Brewer captured three Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1960s. And don't forget James, great nephew of former Boston Bruin Don Awrey, whose name is inscribed on Lord Stanley's mug twice.
"One day I was standing on the ice and said, `Boy, there is a lot of history here,'" said head coach Michael McIntosh, whose son Justin plays defence for the Greater Toronto Hockey League team. "I look at the lineage, but it doesn't mean that I expect more from an individual player. It does mean the families are very enthusiastic."
The coming together of these impressive bloodlines was a mixture of fate and coincidence.
Gilmour already had one son, Jake, playing with the Flyers' minor peewee team, and Tyson was headed to the minor atom squad. The former Maple Leaf captain, who's an assistant coach for Jake's team, asked his friend Paul Coffey if he would be interested in doing some coaching.
Casey Kelly, George's mom and daughter of Red Kelly, picks up the story.
"Callum and George figure skate together and I knew the Gilmours through the Cricket Club," she recalled. "I didn't know they were playing on the team. Once I saw them, it seemed like kismet. It's a small world."
Early returns show a team with promise. It has a 2-1-1 record in a tight division and has scored a league-leading 24 goals. It has been scored on only five times, no doubt a by-product of having a defence corps taught by Coffey, a Hockey Hall of Fame defenceman.
"I think that having an NHL coach is a draw for the kids, absolutely, and should be a draw," says former NHL player Peter Zezel, a mentor coach with the organization this season and himself an alumnus of the Don Mills Flyers.
Zezel's nephew plays with Gilmour's older son as well as the nephew of another former Leaf, Nick Kypreos.
There are a lot of NHL families in the GTHL, but finding one team with as many Stanley Cups in its background would be a challenge.
McIntosh admits a minor hockey coach can be a "little wary" when a proven pro is an assistant, but Coffey's presence on the ice has clearly been a huge plus for the Flyers.
"He's soft-spoken," McIntosh says. "He demonstrates what he wants them to do and I think the most important things is that he makes it about them.
"It's wonderful to have Paul. He's like a kid every time he comes."
After 21 years in the NHL, Coffey retired in 2001 and chose to stay away from the pro scene. He has car dealerships in Bolton and Kitchener and spends as much time as possible with children Savannah, 12, Blake, 9, and Christian, 4.
The Flyers, Coffey says, are "a great group of parents," adding coach McIntosh is a "good father, good coach with his heart in the right place. My philosophy is about teaching these kids for the next five months," says Coffey.
"I want to keep it simple as possible." It's a lesson he learned early, just like these kids.
"Bob Williams coached me as a 9-year-old in tyke with the Mississauga Reps (of the GTHL); he's the most influential minor hockey coach in my life," he said.
"Bob Williams was positive to all the players and I still see him," Coffey said.
"He put me on defence because I could skate well. I hated it. I wanted to be a centre like Dave Keon. Keon was my hero."
But then his dad explained there were nine forwards and only four defence. "I figured I would get more ice time on defence," says Coffey. "Defence is the hardest position to play and the toughest to learn."
Not surprisingly, Coffey has a mission to instill a strong work ethic.
"If I really want my kid to have fun, I take him to the CNE," he says, noting the first 25 minutes of Flyers' practices are for skating drills.
"The harder I work the more fun I have," he said of his theory. "(Wayne) Gretzky worked hardest. The old adage `you practice like you play' is true."
The lessons some kids are learning go back even further than Coffey's era. George, 8, may be the only player on the team with a wooden stick - a pointer picked up from granddad Red, who spent three decades in the NHL and was part of the 1967 Leafs Cup-winning team.
"It has that wood feel, not the same as the newfangled ones," says Kelly, 80. "It is heavier and strengthens the upper body. And it's less dangerous if and when it breaks."
George's mom Casey, an international figure skating judge, says the club is a perfect fit for her son because of the attitude of Flyers' coaches and parents that there is more to life than hockey.
"I've been through this life and I know how few make it," she says. "I want George to learn good sportsmanship, be challenged, learn the game and make friends. Some of the AAA teams are so intense. Some are focused on win win win.
"What's neat about Paul is he is just a guy, not a prima donna.
"This is someone's dad who knows a lot about the sport. He's loves doing it because he loves to give back to the sport."
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"Don Mills Flyers"
The Toronto Star - 2007.10.24
It took three years but the Don Mills Flyers peewees finally defeated Toronto Red Wings peewees 2-1 this past week.
"It was a great game," says coach Bobby Marshall who played for Don Mills Flyers in his minor hockey career. "The kids did everything we asked them to do. They played their hearts out.
"It was two good teams and it was finally our turn," he said. "We have managed a couple of ties over the years but no wins and it finally happened for us."
The standings show how close the teams really are. The Red Wings and Flyers are tied in second spot with the Jr. Canadiens at 14 points each.
The Red Wings have a 7-1-0 record with 46 goals for and 8 against; Don Mills Flyers are 7-1-0 with 28 goals for and eight against; and the Jr. Canadiens are 6-2-2 with 37goals for and 16 against.
Nicholas Santoro and Michael Dal Colle scored the Flyers' goals against the Red Wings and Charlie Graham was in net.
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"Don Mills Flyers - Underachievers look on the bright side"
Hockey Now (Ontario Edition) Vol. 6 No. 11 Issue 58 2007.12.01
Don Mills Flyers Bantam AAA head coach Gary Tamane is pegging his team as underachievers this season.
Currently at the bottom of the standings with just six points, the Flyers (2-12-12) are trying to look at the brighter side of things despite their results. The Flyers are five points from a playoff spot.
"It's very difficult on the players being in last place, especially when we all believe that we are under achieving as a team," explains Tamane. "We have to remain positive in order to be able to turn it around. The players have been committing themselves more in practice which will only make us more competitive in the near future."
At the beginning the season, the Flyers set goals: to make the playoffs and work together as a team.
With eight players making the jump from AA, Tamane said it's been a hard adjustment for the team to make.
For Tamane, he finds it difficult to watch his team struggle, especially when their working hard for a win.
"We compete very well against the top teams in the league, and need to play the same way against all teams. If we accomplish this, we will experience more success. They need to understand that individuals win games and teams win championships, and hopefully by the end of the season we will be playing like champions."
The Flyers have one of the best goalies in the league in Santo Provenzano, according to Tamane. The Flyers have allowed 53 goals against in 16 games.
"Santo has been very steady for us the past three years, and has the ability to win games for us," said Tamane.
Defenceman Michael Wilkins, a feisty player that won't back down to anyone, is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his brother Andrew, who plays for the London Knights of the OHL.
Keeping next season in mind, Tamane is trying to make his players understand the commitment that is required to play at the AAA level, and the sacrifices that are needed to make in order to be successful. As well, education is also a high priority in their lives and time management
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"Don Mills Flyers - Flyers learn desire, commitment"
Hockey Now (Ontario Edition) Vol. 6 No. 11 Issue 58 2007.12.01
The goal for the Don Mills Flyers Minor Midget AAA club this year is to get the team playing at the highest level that each player can play.
Early this season, Brian Tracey, Flyers head coach, said he wants his players to understand what desire and commitment really mean.
"We are working towards a playoff spot and trying to get as much exposure for these kids as possible because in the end it has to be an enjoyable experience that they will want to look back on," said Tracey.
Their record (2-14-1) might make them want to look away.
But with this being the players' year for the chance to make the next step in hockey, winning sometimes plays second fiddle.
"I felt the first game of the season the scouts were at that game played a role in the way the boys performed," said Tracey. "They are starting to expect them at every game. In the end, they are getting more comfortable with the scouts watching and less distracted."
Despite the results, the Flyers still have "a few diamonds in the ruff," according to Tracey.
Captain Kyler Docherty, who Tracey compares him to Scott Stevens, is a strong skater, tough, a good leader and a smart student.
Another player is Cody Doirion, who sees the game really well, shows a lot of poise and makes good decisions on the ice.
A surprise on their blueline is Ellery O'Hara. As a big, strong defenceman with a deceptive shot that always seems to find its ways through traffic, O'Hara is one to watch.
Forwards making noise are Derek Cheetam and Tyler Walsh.
At 17 games - the halfway point for the Flyers - now is not the time to call the quits. An eighth place spot in the playoffs is only six points away.
Tracey said it's going to take time for his players to adjust to the type of skills and hockey system he's teaching, but hopes things will turn around.
"We just have to continue to work hard in the offensive zone and stick to the system. It will soon start to pay off."
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Most organizations with track records like the Greater Toronto Hockey League's Don Mills Flyers get reputations as sterile, hockey factories. But the Flyers, who have produced an average of about an NHLer-a-year during their 40-year history, are as much about having fun as they are about learning the intricacies of the sport.
"Development is the name of our game" might be the club's motto, but long-time Flyers president Peter MacInnis and his colleagues have made sure that development has never come at the expense of a youngster's enjoyment of the game.
That philosophy has encouraged countless Flyers alumni - including some that went on to play in the OHL, NCAA and even the NHL - to stay involved either as parents of Flyer players, or as guest or regular coaches.
One such returnee is Michael Stathopoulos, 26, who credits Don Mills for helping him reach the OHL's London Knights and the East Coast Hockey League, the second-highest rung of the minor-league ladder.
"From my experience growing up, they did a ton for me," Stathopoulos says. "I still always remember that stepping stone with Don Mills. I appreciate that because that's the foundation I had for my whole hockey career going forward. It was a great one." Former NHLers such as Rick Tocchet, Kirk McLean and Scott Mellanby benefited greatly from their early years with the Flyers, as did several current players, such as Manny Legace and Kris Draper, both multiple Stanley Cup winners with the Detroit Red Wings. John Madden, likewise with the New Jersey Devils, and young Trevor Daley of the Dallas Stars. San Jose Sharks assistant coach Jay Woodcroft and his brother, Todd, the Minnesota Wild's video coordinator, also played for Don Mills. Most recently, former Flyers Anthony Nigro and Nick Crawford were selected at last summer's NHL Entry Draft.
Stathopoulos, whose father, Gus, is now the Flyers general manager, wouldn't be surprised if any of the former players came back to assist the organization when their NHL days are done.
"Guys remember where they played and where they had those great experiences growing up," he says. "They know how great Mr. MacInnis has been for as long as he's been (with the Flyers). Personally, I fell like I owe him a lot and I owe the whole organization a lot."
The Don Mills Hockey Association was founded in 1960 for kids aged 8-17. In 1968, the rep AAA clubs got permission from the Philadelphia Flyers to use the Flyers emblem and the orange, black and white colours. Tocchet, coincidentally, would go on to star for Philadelphia after learning the game as a Don Mills Flyer. MacInnis joined Don Mills in 1975 as a coach after being recruited from the Toronto Olympics. Over the years as coach, general manager and now president, MacInnis has overseen one of the most respected organizations in minor hockey. He was awarded the Chamandy Award in 1998, the highest honour given by the GTHL, for "outstanding service in the fostering and promotion of youth hockey in the GTHL."
The 63-year-old has also won a number of other awards, including the Cooper Humanitarian award for service to youth and minor hockey in 2007. MacInnis, the president of the Jennifer Ashleigh Children's Charity, which assists chronically ill children and their families, last coached at the Triple-A level in 1989, taking the Flyers bantam team to the finals of the All-Ontario Bantam Championships. Unable to kick the coaching bug completely, MacInnis still gets behind the bench in the North York Hockey League's house league select program.
MacInnis takes pride at what he has helped build and believes people want to associate themselves with the Flyers because, in a way, the organization is unique.
"We're a little more old-fashioned here," MacInnis says while watching a team of eager 12-year-old Flyers run through drills at a local arena. "It's a little more peaceful here. We're a litlle more laid back. We're here to help."
MacInnis feels minor hockey has become a bit too serious in the GTA and with that, less enjoyable.
"There's more pressure (elsewhere)," he says. "People are looking for somewhere where there's maybe a bit more sanity. We've done things much the same way for a long time. We might not be as successful on the scoreboard as some, but over time, I think we've done as well as most and will probably continue to do as well as most."
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