The 27 members of the Saratoga Springs High School Blue Streaks state champion boys hockey team were honored Wednesday with a police-escorted trolley ride to City Hall and a special day named for them.
The hockey team, coached by high school attendance officer David Torres, beat McQuaid of Rochester 5-0 on March 10 to win the Division 1 state high school hockey championship at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
On March 10, 1999, the Blue Streaks, then coached by Jeff Sova and Bob Santamoor, won the high school’s first-ever state hockey title, beating Ithaca, 3-0.
When the team arrived at City Hall on the CDTA’s Saratoga Trolley after leaving Saratoga Springs High School at 3 p.m., Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson was waiting at the Broadway entrance along with dozens of parents, friends and other well-wishers.
With the team standing on City Hall’s steps behind him, Mayor Johnson proclaimed that March 10 will be forever known as “Saratoga Hockey Day” in the city in honor of the two state hockey championship teams, the 2013 team and the 1999 team.
“In an inspiring show of skill and endurance, these young and courageous Saratogians gave us something to admire and something to be proud of,” Mayor Johnson said. “In a city known for its history, they made history of their own.”
Torres, who was standing on the steps with his team, accepted the framed proclamation on behalf of the team.
“What a year this has been for the Saratoga Blue Streaks, for the 27 boys standing behind me,” Torres said.
Torres, who was selected New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division 1 Coach of the Year, started coaching the varsity boys hockey team at the start of the 2011-12 season. The team made it to the state championships last season but lost in the semifinals.
“They are hard workers. We know how to win, we don’t like to lose,” Torres said about the team earlier Wednesday.
He said the five-monthlong hockey season is grueling but his team remained dedicated and resilient through it all.
Torres said there are similarities between the 2013 team and the 1999 team. Both teams had outstanding sets of twins, and both teams won their state championship in a shutout.
The 2013 team had twins Ryan and Matt Flynn. Ryan, with two goals in the championship game, was named the state hockey tournament’s most valuable player. Matt was also an all-tourney selection, with a goal and two assists in the championship game.
In 1999, twins Mike and Mark Paine were standout players. Mike Paine was a high-scoring forward, and Mark was an outstanding goalie.
Sova, coach of the 1999 championship team, was guest speaker at a banquet held for the 2012-13 team Wednesday night at Lillian’s Restaurant in Saratoga Springs.
Devin Smith, a senior and one of the team’s captains, played in his fourth trip to the state championships in Utica this year.
“We were just on fire,” he said about the championship run.
“We’ve been in the final four [at the state championships] for four straight years. We lost in the finals twice,” Torres said. “This year we won the whole thing.”
Michael Wormley of Wilton, the father of another team captain, Brendon Wormley, said this year’s team is “just a great group of kids.”
“They are truly a family, they all hang together [off the ice],” he said.
He said Saratoga Springs playing Rochester McQuaid brought back memories for him. He said in his first high school hockey game in 1983, Saratoga Springs lost to the powerful McQuaid 17-1.
The Blue Streaks’ record this year was 20-3-1.