Between the first and second periods of a Toledo Walleye game, the Sylvania Maple Leafs youth hockey team was honored on the ice.
The Maple Leafs (Team Raszka), with five local players, won the 2012-2013 Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League Smythe Pee Wee AA Division championship. The Maple Leafs played the championship game on the Detroit Red Wings’ home ice at Joe Louis Arena, defeating the Kalamazoo Koha K-Wings.
This is the Maple Leafs’ second season in the travel division and they are undefeated in the playoffs. The Leafs’ playoff record is 11-0 for both seasons. Last year, the Maple Leafs won the 2011-2012 Pee Wee A Smythe Division Championship.
Local players are J.J. Utter (Oregon), Cam Menchaca (Oregon), Reaghan Pietrowski (Curtice), R.J. St. John (Curtice), Caleb Williams (Genoa). Assistant coach Randy Menchaca is from Oregon and team manager Ray St. John is from Curtice.
“When you talk about "The Sylvania Maple Leafs Team Raszka, uou must talk about work ethic, commitment, dedication, sacrifice and comraderie,” the announcer said in a statement written by Ray St. John.
“Under the coaching staff of ex-Toledo Storm player Taylor Raszka and Bedford High School coach Randy Menchaca, they have taken a group of 12 and 13 year olds and trained them not just on the ice, but off the ice as well,” St. John’s statement continues.
“This team has worked all summer long in the hockey camp of R & R Total Hockey ran by Taylor Raszka, Randy Manchaca and Walleye fan favorite Evan Rankin. Due to the fact that this team has such great hockey instruction, their team motto has changed from "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard" to "To be the best you have to be trained by the best.”
Other players are Alex Miller, Sam Sparmbleck, Jake Pizza, Luke Cavanagh, Sammy Vassar, Joe Dillon, Reed Boeke, Zach Wilhelm, Pierce Morrison, Nick Sulier, Connor Bishop, Theo Pechlivanos, Andrew Surgo, Mitch Digby, and Jake Coward. Also an assistant coach is Dan Cavanagh.