The Wings Celebrate of Year of Growth and Achievements
Written by Joanne Costantino

The Virtua Wings of Steel held their 2018 Awards banquet on Sunday June 10, at the Democrat Club in Blackwood. Coach Paul Valentine opened the luncheon with thanks and gratitude to Coach Tom Brake and his wife Lynn along with team manager Lori Kile and her husband Bill. The parents were also recognized for their support in getting the players to practices, home and away games and all the volunteering for our biggest and most successful fundraiser the annual Wings of Steel Golf outing directed by Mike Costantino.

Coach Paul shared the importance of judging the season on not just the wins and losses, but the personal growth of each player and most importantly how much they have gained through the season. The team experiences more than playing a game, it’s a great time for the players to know team bonding and just hanging out together, learning to support and encourage each other, as we’ve seen during this past outing in Chicago for the annual Disabled Festival.

Every year two special memorial awards are presented to a player who best represents the traits of two players that were part of the original team started by Tom Brake.

Dennis and Diane Senk presented the Michael Senk award to Michaela “Mickey” Johnson. Like Michael, Michaela reflects a passion for sled hockey. She loves the competition and like Mike, she has no “off” button. Michaela also scored her first goal in Chicago this year. Congratulations, Michaela!

Brian and Caroline Shaw presented the Jessica Shaw award to William Chernets. Jessica loved being a sort of big sister influence to her team mates. She understood that sometimes a young player might not be confident to learn and play. Jess would take theme under her wing and support and encourage as much as they needed. William has been that kind of influence on the young team players of the Wings. Congratulations, William!

Before I list the team roll call, a special thanks goes to the coaches who continue to give generously of their time – Mike Sullivan, Ernie Jewell, Mike Goebel and assistant coaches, Bobby Keyes and Mike Mauger, and pusher Bill Harrop.

Michaela Johnson, Forward #11; Nathaniel “Buzz”Costa, Goalie #99; Willian “Nets” Chernets, Defensman #66; Garret “Gman” Goebel, Center #5; Steven “Tank” Belcher, Forward & back-up Goalie #12; Anthony “the Plow” Ambrose, Defenseman #55; Lucas “Razor” Harrop, Forward #19; Matthew “Doc” Douglass, forward #14; Yazid “Yaz” Ishmael Forward #70; Alexander “X” Satterfield, Center #39; Ian Todd, Forward #6; Matthew “the Future” Chowansky, Forward #30; Colton “Colt” Naylor, Forward #45.

Aging out of the youth team and starting with the new Adult Wings of Steel: Paul “Freight Train” Tursi, Co-captain and Defenseman #8 ; Yoseph “YoBro” Ishmael, Defenseman #68. Also co-captain Robert ‘the Beast” Vettese, Defenseman #7, who is joining the Flyers sled team.