Nine current and five former Varsity Blues men’s water polo players came together to lead the Toronto Golden Jets senior men to the 2023 National Championships gold medal in Regina.
The current Blues, who play for UofT in the Fall OUA season, joined the Golden Jets (city club team) in order to continue high performance development in the Winter term.
The current Blues contingent was led by ’22 OUA MVP Patrick Conn, ’21 OUA MVP Bruno Marunica and current National Team member Diego Gonzalez. Joining the formidable trio were Miguel Garcia, Cameron Hexter, Timmy Pourkazemi, Richard Laurie, Camilo Cortes, and James Glaser. Current assistant coach/former Blue, Emirhan Ozdemir was the starting goalie and was joined by former teammates Euan Scoffield, Sukhmun Hare, Mike Chapman (serving as captain) and Milos Radojcic. Blues Head Coach Tuna Tali and assistant coach Emre Tali (both former Blues) reprised their roles to guide the heavily Blues-laden Golden Jets squad to victory.
The Jets opened the tournament round robin play with a convincing 22-1 win over Fraser Valley (B.C.). Marunica and Gonzalez led the way with five goals and four goals respectively. Cortes added a hat trick while Pourkazemi, Scoffield and Hare notched two goals each. Chapman, Laurie, Glaser and Radojcic popped in singles.
The Toronto club then completed its group play with a 11-8 win over the Calgary Torpedoes. The Jets needed a five goal fourth quarter surge to break a 6-6 deadlock at the end of three quarters. Marunica again paced the Jets attack, this time with four goals. Scoffield fired in a hat trick while Gonzalez, Conn, Hexter and Glaser added single tallies.
In the semi-finals, the Jets drew in against fellow Toronto club, Adriatico (with five former Blues in the lineup). The Jets proved to be too much in a dominating 15-4 win. Gonzalez led the way with five goals with Marunica right behind him with four. Scoffield scored a pair of goals and Pourkazemi, Hexter, Conn and Radojcic each tallied once.
In the championship final, the Golden Jets were matched up against the home town squad, Team Saskatchewan, and burst out to an insurmountable 6-0 first quarter lead on the way to a 13-7 final score. Conn and Marunica paced the Golden Jets attack with hattricks. Gonzalez and Glaser each netted a pair of goals while Pourkazemi, Cortes and Filip Resanovic added singles.
For the nine current Blues and the current Blues coaching staff, it was a double championship year as the Varsity Blues won the OUA championship in the Fall registering its sixth consecutive perfect season.
Gonzalez, Conn, Pourkazemi, Garcia, Hexter, Cortes and Glaser will return this Fall to lead the Blues once again.