While Upper Canada College didn’t end up with as many wins at this year’s Winterfest as it did last year, when it took 12 of 13 decisions, it was another success from a school spirit perspective.
The annual Winterfest, a showcase for the school’s snowy season sports teams, featured swimming, basketball and hockey at both the Prep and Upper School levels.
Winterfest kicked off with an exhibition swim meet involving UCC’s Prep and U14 teams along with representatives from The Sterling Hall School and Crescent School.
Prep basketball games against Crescent School took place in all three gyms, as well as in the winter sports bubble that’s taken over much of the oval field, and highlighted the progress that the school’s young players have been making with their shooting, passing, dribbling and teamwork. Two of the games ended up in ties, showing how closely matched some of the teams were.
A 3 p.m. pep rally in Laidlaw Hall got Upper School boys pumped up to cheer on UCC’s older hoops and hockey players.
The spirit shown at the rally carried over to the Lett Gym, where the Blues varsity basketball team took on St. Andrew’s College. UCC had a slim halftime lead, but the lads from Aurora roared back and looked like they were going to disappoint the home team’s fans as they held a lead in the last minute.
A three-point basket by UCC with six seconds left tied the game at 48-48 and sent it into overtime. The momentum the Blues built late in regular time continued in the four minutes added to regulation and UCC went on to a 58-54 victory, which sent joyous fans storming on to the court in celebration afterward.
UCC’s Year 7 hockey team faced off against the College’s Year 8 team at 3:30 p.m. in the Olympic-sized Mara rink, and the younger boys came away with a 4-1 victory.
The marquee hockey game, pitting the relatively young varsity Blues against their counterparts from Nichols School in Buffalo, N.Y., opened with a 6:30 p.m. ceremonial puck drop by UCC Principal Sam McKinney.
The Blues killed off an early penalty and its players delivered some big body checks later in the first period. While the two teams traded scoring chances, there were no goals after the first 18 minutes. The young Ice Chips players took to the ice during the first intermission and showed a lot of enthusiasm that will hopefully carry on in future years when the games start to mean something.
Nichols went up 1-0 eight minutes into the second period, which was pretty scrappy and featured a few instances of post-whistle pushing and shoving. That score held up going into the final frame.
UCC withstood a two-man disadvantage early on, and it had a couple of power plays of its own later on, but the team couldn’t take advantage as Nichols’ goalie made several tough saves. Ryan Moore tied the game on a nice tip-in with 4:03 left, but Nichols went ahead again three minutes later. The Blues pulled goalie Joe Howe with 32 seconds remaining, but couldn’t put another equalizing goal into the net.
Several Old Boys watched the game from the comfort of the Foster Hewitt Foundation Lounge, where they enjoyed free snacks and a cash bar generously sponsored by UCC’s Young Alumni Network.
The Old Boys’ varsity alumni hockey game took place at 11:30 the next morning. Lunch and beverages, and likely some reminiscing and friendly trash talk, followed in the lounge.
Here are the Winterfest scores:
U10A basketball: UCC 38 – Crescent School 38
U10 Blue basketball: UCC 18 – Crescent School 18
U10 White basketball: Crescent School 30 – UCC 24
U11 basketball: UCC 23 – Crescent School 16
U12A basketball: UCC 38 – Crescent School 18
U12B basketball: UCC 50 – Crescent School 19
U13A basketball: Crescent School 47 – UCC 46
U13B basketball: Crescent School 36 – UCC 23
U14 basketball: UCC 51 – St. Andrew’s College 26
U16A basketball: St. Andrew’s College 58 – UCC 54
Varsity basketball: UCC 58 – St. Andrew’s College 54
U14 hockey: UCC Year 7 4 – UCC Year 8 1
Varsity hockey: Nichols School 2 – UCC 1
Here are some varsity basketball photos taken by Lori Kerrigan and varsity hockey photos taken by Lisa Kellett: