The Toronto Estonian Men's Hockey team begins its defence of the North American Baltic Cup on Friday, March 19th against a tough Latvian squad at 8pm at the MasterCard Centre.
It has been a long season for the team, playing in the always tough Canadian Multicultural Hockey League tournament over Christmas. While the team didn't perform quite as well as they had hoped, it was a good stepping-stone towards the Baltic Cup. Playing together over the Christmas break gave the coaching staff some line combinations to think about, and the opportunity to see some new skaters.
During a brief break between the Christmas tournament and the Baltic Championships the players stayed in shape by returning to their regular club teams, whether it was a men's league, AA, AAA, or high school team. Upon hearing of the team's first game, the boys were eager to get back on the ice with their fellow countrymen.
The first exhibition game against the Lithuanian Klevo Lapai was a tight game with the Estonian team squeaking by with a 3-2 victory. Several new players such as Rudy Zutis, Andreas Menes, Randel Palo and Erik Miitel skated with the team for the first time and made valuable contributions.
On March 5th, the Estonians took to the ice against the Toronto Latvians. With lightning fast skating, and sharp, crisp passes the Estonians skated to a 6-3 victory. Team captain, Robi Trei, was happy with the team's performance- "I think this is the best we've ever played as a unit. Playing together at the Multicultural hockey tournament, and these two exhibitions games have given us a leg up on the competition. We're becoming familiar with each other on the ice, playing smart defensively allowing us to attack the offensive zone with creativity and confidence."
Now having becoming familiar with the competition, the Toronto Estonian men's hockey team begins their defence of the North American Baltic Cup hockey championship. All games are being played at the Toronto Maple Leafs practice facility, The MasterCard Centre (400 Kipling Ave). Tournament schedule is as follows:
Friday, March 19: LATVIANS vs. ESTONIANS @ 8:00pm
Friday, March 26: LITHUANIANS vs. LATVIANS @ 7:00pm
Thursday, April 8: LITHUANIANS vs. ESTONIANS @ 6:15pm
Friday, April 16: BALTIC CUP FINAL @ 7:00pm
So dress up in your blue, black and white, bring your Estonian flags, and come out and cheer on your Toronto Estonian men's hockey team as they go for their fourth consecutive North American Baltic Cup!!
If you don't have any blue, black, and white clothing contact the National Estonian Foundation of Canada to get your very own Toronto Estonian men’s hockey jersey.
The Road to the Baltic Championship