Jesse Michel added to his trophy case last week, as the Port Perry native celebrated a national Junior ‘B’ championship as part of the Campbell River Storm.
After spending last season playing in Sweden, Michel joined the Storm earlier this season, and was solid between the pipes throughout the campaign, helping the Storm to a trio of championships: a Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League crown, the Cyclone Taylor Cup as provincial champions, and finally, a Keystone Cup as national champs.
In the championship game, contested in Cold Lake, Alberta on Sunday, April 19, the Storm rained on the North Edmonton Red Wings, winning by a margin of 6-3.
The championship game victory allowed the Storm to avenge their only loss in the round robin portion of the tournament, a 5-4 setback against the Red Wings. In their other round robin games, the Storm scored a 6-1 win over the Selkirk Fishermen, a 5-4 win against the Thunder Bay Northern Hawks and 4-2 wins against the host Cold Lake Ice and the Saskatoon Quakers.
The run to the national championship was filled with memorable moments for the 19-year-old Michel, who began playing goalie as a member of his hometown Port Perry Predators, eventually spending time in the ‘AAA’ ranks with the Central Ontario Wolves, Markham Majors and Toronto Red Wings.
In the deciding game of the Storm’s four-game sweep in the VIJHL Finals against the three-time defending champion Victoria Cougars, Michel made a save on a penalty shot late in the third period to help preserve a win for Campbell River.
In the Cyclone Taylor Cup, Michel backstopped the Storm to a 6-5 victory in the provincial championship game against the Kimberley Dynamiters.
Following the win, Michel thanked those who had helped him along the path to his dream season.
“What a great group of guys in Campbell River, couldn't have done it without every single guy on the team, “ Michel said. “Thanks to all of my family, my father, mother, sister and grandma in particular. They have sat in some of the coldest rinks, watched some of my worst games, spent unbelievable amounts of money, traveled countless hours to support me. For this, I cannot thank them enough. The support my family gives me is everything. I dedicate this to my friends who pushed me and helped me."