Little could have predicted how successful the 1982-83 Hockey team was to become. The Bruins finished in third place behind Seneca and Humber with a 13-10-1 record but the hockey program had not produced a winning season for five years and it had been 10 years since they last won the OCAA Championship.
If a team chooses to compete then it can also choose to believe they can win. Bruins hockey needed a change in its culture and it came with the make-up of the 82-83 team.
A solid nucleus of returning players Craig Kowalchuk, Doug Barnes, Scott Ward, Jim Sweeney, Steve Worlidge, Dave Wright, Terry Hopkins and the goaltending tandem of Peter Denomme and Steve Park. Four new forwards came to the team and provided a depth and versatility the Sheridan team had not seen since 1976; they were skilled with the likes of Paul Roberts, Jay LeMay, speedy Brain Kozluk and dependable John Cudmore. The defense was completely transformed. There was strength and mobility with the addition of 6 first year players in Owen Griffiths, Al Decloe, Rob Allan, Keith Henderson, Kerry Fry and Ken Ward.
As the season evolved the team performances became more consistent. In the early going the team had to learn trust their training, the talents, skills and abilities they developed. Each player had belief in each one of his teammates. With this trust came confidence and the disciplined effort to be successful.
Champions usually share the characteristics of being strong willed; combine that with a group of feisty personalities
Practices were intense competitions with this group but talent and potential have more to do with what is in a player’s head than with their physical qualities.
The catalyst for winning came in the second half of the season with two events. The first when rugged winger Brian Grigsby and smooth centre Mike Kalapaca were added to the roster and together with Jim Sweazey, became a potent trio and power play weapon. The second occurred was when Doug Barnes was named Captain. The team needed a focus and “Barnie’s” grit and determined confidence became both a stabilizer and the face for the team personality that surfaced down the stretch and into the playoffs.
“Barnie promised he would get the winner in overtime against a tough Humber Squad in the semi finals and then he delivered the team message for Canadore in the finals “We are going to win the OCAA’s!” Satisfaction was fulfilled in 2 straight and a berth in the Nationals in Toronto.
Doug Barnes and Keith Henderson made the OCAA All-Star team. The team MVP was Doug Barnes and the Coach’s Award was won by Steve Worlidge. Ten players from the team are on the top “50” of all-time in Bruins career scoring and three players John Cudmore, Jay LeMAy and Owen Griffiths went on to play more games than any other players in Sheridan history. Owen Griffiths returned to help coach for another eight seasons after graduation.
The coaching staff of 1982-83 consisted of all ex-Bruins; Steve Blundy was the head coach and his assistants were Robin Black and Bunny Starchuk.
It was not only about the medal, it was about the process and the will to win. They are a great example of how student athletes can come together for brief moment to represent themselves and Sheridan proudly. They played their best when their best was needed.