Last weekend, the 13th annual John Cunniff Memorial Shamrock Tournament was held at the DCR Murphy Rink in South Boston. Four Pee Wee “A” teams – South Boston, the Cambridge Falcons, the Medford Mustangs, and the New England Predators – competed in this coveted tournament. South Boston defeated the New England Predators 1-0 in the championship game.
This was only the second time that Southie took home the gold. Milton won in ’03, ‘04, and ’07. Dorchester won in ’05 and ’06. Duxbury won in ’08. Arlington won in ’09. The Conquistadors won in ’10 and ’12. Marblehead won in ’13 and the Terriers won in ’14. The rink was shut down last winter due to the weather and needed repairs. Southie won in 2011 and the local team is this year’s tournament champions.
Niall Ryan scored the winning goal, assisted by Chris Conroy and Aidan Young. As far as their coaches were concerned, goalie Joey Hamilton, who registered the shutout in the final, and Niall Ryan, were the co-MVPs of the game. This team was also in the state tournament last week and made it to the semi-finals.
Bobby McGarrell is the head coach, ably assisted by Bubba Maddox, Mike Murray, and Chris Crowley.
“These players are a hard-working team,” McGarrell said. “They put forth a great deal of effort in their preparation. They compete at a high-level each and every opportunity put in front of them. They give their maximum effort and it is evident in their performances.
“They deserve all the credit,” McGarrell added. “The coaches and I are honored to have the opportunity to coach them.”
The late John Cunniff was born in South Boston and was an All-American at Boston College. He was the first player to be named twice as the MVP in the Beanpot in ‘64 and ’65. John was also on the U.S. National team in 1967 and played in the 1968 Olympics before playing and coaching in the NHL.
Teddy Cunniff, the vice-president of the South Boston Youth Hockey League (SBYHL) along with SBHYL president Thomas McGrath started this event to honor a hockey legend and a true son of South Boston.
“Southie played well and as a team,” Cunniff said. “The passing and teamwork was terrific. They deserved to win against a tough opponent. The goalie was great and had a shutout.
“It was great that Southie won right after the rink was just re-opened,” Cunniff said. “The newly renovated rink and a new beginning for the hockey program with a win in this memorial tournament are good for us and the players.”