By John Kavcic
The first SSC hockey team was formed in the early winter of 1961 and after a few practices entered the C.Y.O. League representing at that time Our Lady Help of Christians (Slovenian Church). We played in the C.Y.O. League for three years and won the league championship twice. Part of our early success was due to the capabilities of a few second-generation players on the team. Three years later, we entered the highly competitive M.T.H.L. Senior Industrial League where we played a number of years while training for our future trips to Slovenia (then Yugoslavia).
In December 1966, the team took its first trip to the former Yugoslavia. This trip was followed by additional trips in 1968 and 1970. At all of these tournaments, we played against Yugoslavia’s best six hockey teams from Jesenice, Ljubljana, Celje, Zagreb and two teams in Belgrade, the Partizan & Red Star. It must be said that our accomplishments were praise worthy. Part of the credit also goes to a few Canadian players that were enlisted to help complete our team roster for the trip. Our success was such that some of us were offered to stay and play for the above mentioned clubs. A few players took this opportunity and remained behind.
In 1978, SSC formed a “Junior- All Star Team” which enlisted 12 and 13-year-old boys of Slovenian descent who played in different select leagues throughout Toronto. This team traveled to Slovenia (Yugoslavia) in December 1979 for a hockey tournament. The trip was repeated in 1982 with essentially the same players. On both occasions, the team competed against the best Slovenian junior teams, as well as teams from neighboring Croatia and finally the Slovenian National Junior Team. Our young players displayed courage, discipline, some amazing skills, tenacity and endurance with vibrant Canadian spirit. Our results were incredible. The memories that these young players carried home with them from Slovenia are endeared in their hearts to this day.
Some of these players, many of whom were sons of the members of SSC, eventually played with the Slovenian Senior Hockey Team in the local recreational non-contact leagues. At times there were as many as five Slovenian hockey teams playing with one predominant team, which was a mixture of veterans and young players that stayed together for approximately 15 years. This team won a number of championships and participated at different tournaments throughout Ontario as well as a few in Chicago, USA. At present time there are still two teams playing in the league.
The SSC “Tradition” continues…