WNY Athletics

WNY Fed hockey media day

The message was simple; we feel we have the best high school hockey league in the state and it shows.

On Friday morning, the Buffalo Sabres and KeyBank Center played host to the annual Super Monday press conference.

Former Buffalo Sabre Patrick Kaleta, who now serves as the Sabres Youth Hockey Ambassador, welcomed the coaches and players from the eight teams that will be competing in the title games this Sunday and Monday.

Kaleta’s message to the kids was two-fold.

Enjoy the moment because high school sports pass in the blink of an eye and you never get it back.

The other was dare to dream as he used his journey as a native WNYer who realized a boyhood dream to play for the Sabres as an example to follow your calling.

“If you want something that bad you’ll find a way to get it,” Kaleta said.

The WNY Girls Federation title game participants were first up and members of CASH and newly crowned state champs FLOP took to the stage.

The two clubs square off Sunday at HarborCenter at 6pm.

Splitting the season series 1-1-1, CASH is making its first trip to the finals.

“Win or lose, when you play your game and you’ve given it your all you’re fine with the results,” CASH coach Nicola Adimey said. “So if you go out there and give 100 percent and you end up losing and you did your best you can be proud of what you’ve done.”

FLOP, the defending Fed and sectional champs, will try to complete the trifecta of winning states, sectionals and Fed in one year. “My team is really strong and we have great defense and great forwards,” said FLOP goalie Maggie Spyche. “The girls have a lot of heart and all of our seniors are really ready to win.”

The Super Monday triple header kicks off with the large school title game (4pm) that pits familiar foes against each other as Niagara Wheatfield will face  defending NYSPHSAA Division I champion Williamsville North.

It marks the seventh time in 11 years the two clubs have met. The most recent meeting came in 2016 when the Spartans ended the Falcons run of four straight sectional titles.

Hoping to reclaim the large school crown the Falcons also took Kaleta’s words to heart.

“He’s an inspirational guy, said Niagara Wheatfield’s Peyton Siegmann, “hockey with all of your friends that you go to school with. You’re never gonna forget it. It’s not like travel. There’s something special about it.”

The small school title game will drop puck at 6:15 as West Seneca West will face Sweet Home. The Panthers return to Super Monday for the first time since 2010.

“Everyone has that thought from the beginning of the season and (Kaleta) just kind a reinforced it,” said West Seneca West captain Parker Leemer. “We all kinda had a moment where you look at yourself and say this is it. This is gonna be your last year so you gotta give everything you’ve got.”

The night will be capped off with the Niagara Cup title game (8:30) as upstart St.Mary’s of Lancaster will attempt to keep their improbable run going when they face defending Catholic school state champ St.Joe’s.

“Coming here its starting to set the mood for the game on Monday,” St.Mary’s goalie Cameron Ruggerio said.

“It’s time to get everyone ready and makes it more of a real feeling.”

Joe’s has won four of the last five sectional titles and 12 titles overall since 1990.

St. Joe’s coach Rich Crozier said that he believes the WNY Federation is by far the best, deepest league in the state because it unites the private and public schools.

“It’s an amazing league that includes the public and private schools,” Crozier said.

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