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Ottawa Valley Titans looking to win gold at Ontario Winter Games


An Ottawa Valley under-14 hockey team is dominating the competition at the Ontario Winter Games in Renfrew County this weekend, and looking to become some of the first local athletes to win medals for the region.

The Ottawa Valley Titans won their Saturday morning game versus Sault Ste. Marie 13-4, leaving them undefeated heading into Saturday's semifinals.

Leading the Titans on their path to victory is Arnprior native and head coach Scott Buffam.

"To be in my adopted hometown leading a phenomenal group of young men is like a dream come true to be honest with you," Buffam told CTV News following the team's big win.

This is Buffam's first year as head coach of the Titans, but he has spent the better part of the past three decades dedicating his life to the Ottawa Valley, both on and off the ice.

"To be (playing the games) in a community that my family is from; my mom and dad are from here, I taught here for 20 years."

Buffam also shares valley connections with four of his players.

"I felt we were the underdogs in this tournament," said Andrew Enright, a defenceman on the team from Cobden. 

"But we've played a team twice and lost twice already, and then we played them again and beat them this time."

The Titans are one of the eight best U14 teams from across the province competing at the Ontario Winter Games, along with teams from places like Ottawa, Barrie, and Toronto.

They're out to prove that the best hockey doesn't have to come from big cities.

"It's a lot of fun and I think the competition is the best part of the game," says defenceman and Eganville resident Tyler McEnery. "And now that we're playing against Toronto teams we get a different type of hockey play."

For many of the 13- and 14-year-olds on the Titans, they have big dreams of making it to the NHL, but they're keeping their feet and sticks on the ice for the next games ahead.

"I think it's a good opportunity but I also think that we're still very young and there's lots of years to come until we hit that spot," says forward Kaden McGregor from Braeside.

"I think it would be great to win this," adds goaltender Brian Rathwell of Pembroke. "However, if we don't, just the experience itself has been great."

As a teacher and coach, Buffam's success is measured in the growth of his players rather than the colour of medals that may hang from their necks.

"To see these boys be able to get in a position to grow towards that and have a role in that is the most rewarding thing a coach or a teacher could ever ask for." Top Stories

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