The Martha’s Vineyard U-14 returned to the Island recently with smiles and a pretty big banner. The team, coached by Brian Donnelly, won the South Coast League Championship.
The team included goalies Holden Brew and Henry Wansiewicz, as well as players Max Metell, Matty MacMillan, Griff Callahan, Will Baliunas, Sol Donnelly, Teddy Pacheco, Wyatt Wiggin, Robby Pacheco, Matthew Fontaine, and Ronan Kelly.
In an email to The Times, Donnelly wrote, “Most of these kids have been skating together since the age of 5 or 6, and had yet to realize a winning season or tournament, but did learn plenty of life lessons along the way. This year the kids really bought into their development, and found their strength and confidence. They are friends as well as teammates, and they played for each other with heart. It has been a great joy watching these players maturing and becoming fine young men. The team is happy and proud to bring the banner home to our rink, where we have spent countless hours training and growing. A true hockey family.”
In a message to parents, Donnelly thanked Adam Wansiewicz, Joe Fontaine, and Erin Pacheco for their help with the team. He also reflected on the team’s performance. “They have been through so much together, from countless hours of practice and games to tournaments in Lake Placid and elsewhere,” he wrote. “Adversity is nothing new to this team, as the development path was not necessarily paved with accolades and fair weather. They had to, and did, support each other, and remained resilient throughout. It makes their achievements this year so much more sweet!”
Donnelly noted the team effort that went into the championship. “Their poise, compete, effort, and discipline all came together this year,” he wrote. “They worked their butts off to get faster, stronger, better, smarter, and it paid off. I am so proud of these kids and their achievement.”