From Between the Pipes to Behind the Bench

Mr. Always Write, Hockey Rink

PREFACE: Years after graduating from high school (I had completed university by this point, too) I had an opportunity to help coach their hockey team. Afterwards, I was approached by Ron Van Zutphen, a mentor of mine who I had as a teacher every year throughout secondary school, to write an article for their newspaper. Ron and I stay in touch to this day and he even came to my wedding. This is that article.


A Treasure Cove Revisited

A passion reunited; a tradition reborn. Had it not been for the 2011-2012 Philip Pocock Catholic Secondary School‘s Junior Boys’ Hockey team, my coaching career would not have sustained. More importantly, Pocock Athletics would have been missing a much-needed fuel that has now helped reignite a flame that was doused for far too long. I do not work for the school. I am merely a proud graduate and ex-Pirate who, for years since graduating, wanted to continue to be part of Pocock Hockey. My wish came true.

Mr. Always Write, Philip Pocock HockeyI was fortunate enough to play for the Pirates in my tenure at Philip Pocock – I was their goalie. I am a very passionate and proud individual and would put everything I had towards stopping every shot I faced. In our most successful season, which was also my final year at Pocock, we were one game away from the finals. We lost in overtime of the semi-final game to our then rivals, the John Cabot Catholic Secondary School Mustangs. I did not think anything could come close to the pride I’ve maintained from my days playing as a Pirate. However, I can sincerely say that being part of the coaching staff for this team has helped my Pocock pride and memories reach a furthered level that I never envisioned possible.

With a slow start and a less than cohesive squad, it was simply nice to see those black and yellow uniforms skating around that familiar ice at Tomken Twin Rinks. With patience and dedication, the team began an improbable and seemingly impossible run to end their season, finding ways to overcome insurmountable odds in their three final games. They made their way from out of the bottom of the standings and straight into the playoffs. The players had found their cohesion; they had become a team. Mostly lead by heart, with some bumps and bruises along the way, the Pirates faced a top-ranked, well established Our Lady of Mount Carmel team in the quarter-final. Pocock came up short in that game, losing 3-0, but there is nothing small about their achievement in reestablishing the great tradition of Pocock Hockey.

Mr. Always Write, Philip Pocock HockeyGreat work, Pirates! You’ve made your school proud, you’ve made your coaches proud, and even if you don’t realize it just yet, the accomplishment that you have all been part of will surely make yourselves proud in years to come.

Special thanks to Mr. Van Zutphen for helping me to fulfill my wish of being back and part of Pirates Hockey, even though it was from behind the bench and not between the pipes. Thank you also to Mr. Anisko, Mr. DeSantis, Mr. Policelli, and Mr. Sikic for allowing me to take advantage of this opportunity and helping welcome me on to the team.

Shaun Filippelli


Ron Van Zutphen has since retired from teaching, but has taken his passion for photography to a whole other level. He now offers private lessons and even sells some of his work. Check out Ron’s Instagram profile and get in touch with him to discuss.

Did you play on any of your high school’s sports teams? Connect and let me know.

Shaun