Heights Hockey takes first place at Niagara tournament
Back row: Stephen Lang, Dan Wakefield (coach), Kent Hadden, Patrick Richards, Jameel Gaskins, Bobby Edwards, James Purcell, Sam Meany, Kyle Soca, Mike Kieklak (coach); Front row: Logan Kieklak, Noah Weisblatt, Jimmy Hayden, Edwin Bluffington, Charlie Adams; In front: Trent Swain. Photo by Susan Kieklak.
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The Cleveland Heights Hockey League's (CHHL) Bantam AA squad traveled to Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y. over the Presidents Day weekend, hoping to be competitive in the annual Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles (NJPE) 2013 Patriots Day Tournament.
And compete they did. Coached by Heights High graduate Dan Wakefield, and assisted by Ken Hadden, Mike Kieklak and Dave Keller, the team dominated the NJPE competition to bring home the first-place trophy.
"It's a great accomplishment for this group,” said Wakefield, “Many have been CHHL teammates since they were five years old. We weren't expected to win but having every member of the team contribute made all the difference."
Standout performers included goaltender Trent Swain and second year Bantams Bobby Edwards, Jameel Gaskins, Logan Kieklak, Stephen Lang, Sam Meaney, James Purcell, Patrick Richards and Kyle Soca.
Charlie Adams, Edwin Buffington, Kent Hadden, Jimmy Hayden, Brandon Melnick and Noah Weisblatt round out the squad.
The team's season continues as it advances to the Cleveland Suburban Hockey League championship game on March 3 in Wooster, after its playoff victory over the previously undefeated Cleveland Skating Club on Feb. 24 in Canton.
Michael Adams is the owner of Rockefeller's restaurant and a member of the CHHL Advisory Board. His sons Charlie and David both participate in the league. Charlie is a Bantam; David is a Squirt.