SUDBURY – The 2007-2008 Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves were one class act and their dedication to hockey excellence (and perseverance) led the team to a Telus Cup (the Canadian national win during the 2008 national championships). Two Island hockey players, Devin and Justin Lockeyer, were a part of that exceptional team and this past Wednesday evening they and their teammates were inducted into the Greater Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame.
“It is still pretty something, everywhere I turn it seems there are people congratulating me,” said Devin Lockeyer, who currently works for Manitoulin Transport. “It’s really quite something.”
The brothers discovered they were in the running for induction into the Hall of Fame just over a month ago. “It was around the time we learned that Donnie (Don Prescott) was going in,” said Devin Lockeyer. “Our captain sent us a text. We had thought it might happen last year on the tenth anniversary.” As it turns out their induction was actually nearly 11 years to the month.
“Eventually it might sink in,” he said, “but right now it is still pretty surreal.”
As for the championship run, Devin Lockeyer said that it was a “really great way to go out.”
He had put in time on the Manitoulin Islanders previously. “We really didn’t have a great record,” he said. “We might have had one or two wins.”
Devin Lockeyer said that he puts a lot of credit for the duo’s success on the support that they received from the Manitoulin community. “I know I speak for my brother and I when I say that we couldn’t have done it without the Island behind us,” he said. “It still brings tears to my eye.”
These days he still plays some sportsman hockey but the heady glory days are in the past, and that’s fine by him. “I do some refereeing to help give back,” he said.
“It was really that the group, the players, decided they wanted to come back for an extra year of midget,” recalled Peter Michelutti Jr., a longtime former coach of the team who was behind the bench for that amazing run up to becoming the 2008 national champs. “They came back with a purpose and they wanted to have an opportunity to win,” he said. “The previous year they saw the team from the Sault go to the national championship and they really thought they had an opportunity the year before, so there was some unfinished business.”
The team went on to win the Great North Midget League in 2007-2008 and they fought their way through the best the province had to offer on the ice to reach the nationals in Arn Prior and an eventual 6 to 4 triumph over the Winnipeg Thrashers.
“It’s an honour for sure,” said Albert Corradini, manager of that national championship edition of the Nickel Capital Wolves, and although the team might have thought the trip to the championship was in the bag because they took the lead so early, the 2012 championship and hosting the championships in 2012 brought home just how exceptional their accomplishment was. “It made them appreciate the experience even more.”