Stars on Ice: From SMCS to the NHL

If there’s a glimmer of green shining through the double blue these days, there’s good reason.
 
And a rare hat trick is right in the thick of it.
 
A trio of St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) hockey products are not only into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but all three are on the same team.

Photo courtesy of Vox Media, Inc. (Ronald Martinez).

Dallas Stars forwards Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza celebrate a goal in 2015. Both players attended St. Michael’s College School.

With plenty of Canadian content left vying for Lord Stanley’s Cup --- in the form of individual players --- perhaps no single team has the attention of the SMCS community more than the Dallas Stars.

Jason Spezza's yearbook photo

Jason Spezza of the Dallas Stars in Grade 9 at SMCS in his 1998 school yearbook photo.

Stars assistant captain and Brampton native Tyler Seguin, along with fellow forwards Jason Spezza and Andrew Cogliano, both originally from the Toronto area, all honed their youth hockey skills at SMCS, before moving onto the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and the National Hockey League (NHL).

Andrew Cogliano's yearbook photo

Andrew Cogliano of the Dallas Stars in Grade 9 at SMCS in his 2002 school yearbook photo.

Seguin was at SMCS for four years, from Grades 7-11. Spezza spent one year here in 1998, for Grade 9. Cogliano graduated from the school in 2002, completing Grades 7-12.

Tyler Seguin's yearbook photo

Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars in Grade 9 at SMCS in his 2007 school yearbook photo.

John Walsh, current SMCS Head of Community Partnerships and former hockey coach of Seguin and Spezza believes;

“Basilan educator and visionary Fr. Henry Carr brought hockey to St. Michael’s in 1906 as a way to increase the school’s profile within the City of Toronto. One hundred and thirteen years later young men are still attending the school in hope of pursuing their hockey dream. During the years that I coached both Tyler and Andrew it was very easy to see that they were destined to fulfill theirs and continue our tradition.” 
 
GETTING DRAFTED

Aidan Spooner, currently in Grade 11 at SMCS, is also the 1st overall draft pick in the OHL U18 draft to the Kingston Frontenacs. The draft took place on Thursday, April 10th.

“Sitting in the same classroom as NHL players is really something special!” says Spooner, who is a goaltender. “It definitely motivates me to be the best student-athlete I can be.”

Aidan Spooner in his hockey goalie gear

Aidan Spooner is a current Gr. 11 student at SMCS and the 1st overall pick in the U18 OHL draft.

In addition to the academic workload, the 17-year-old also participates in a long list of co-curricular activities at SMCS, including the Aviation Club, the Italian Club, The Asian Association, Student Government and the Technology Club. All this in addition to a busy hockey schedule.

“When I attended the Open House, I walked through the rink and saw all of the St. Michael’s alumni that had played in the NHL, I really got an appreciation for the hockey history at the school. At that point I knew it was the school for me.”

Another product of the SMCS programme is Jack Beck. Jack, currently in Grade 10 at SMCS, was drafted in the 2nd round, 31st overall in the OHL U16 draft to the Ottawa 67’s. 

Photo courtesy of the Ottawa 67's Hockey Club

Jack Beck is a current Gr. 10 student at SMCS and 31st overall pick in the U16 OHL draft.

“It has been a huge honour to play for the St. Michael's Junior Double Blues” says Beck.

DRAWING INSPIRATION

While Spooner thinks about the game he loves, he remains focused on working hard toward his scholastic goals as well.

“Academically, I appreciate the demanding standards the school offers,” says Spooner. “I had the opportunity to play on the school team in Grade 9 and really enjoyed playing with some of the top players in my age group. This made me work harder to reach my hockey goals”.

That motivation runs true through all grade levels.

“I had the honour of playing both years and being the captain for back to back years. It was definitely special especially having all of the students come out and support” says Beck.

For now, Spooner and Beck, like many in the SMCS community, take great pride in watching former SMCS students and current NHLers grind it out as they try to win what is often called, ‘the most difficult trophy to win in professional sports’.