ANDREW BARTON: Once a Culliton

ANDREW BARTON, Stratford Cullitons #26
2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13

I have a lot of great memories, life lessons and friendships to this day from my time as a Culliton. Stratford was a special place to play because of the great history of the organization with the players that have come through and because of the unbelievable support from the community. In many ways, you are treated so well and looked up to you feel like a mini celebrity. I know as a kid going down to the Allman on Friday nights I looked up to the players like they were in the NHL. The raucous crowds on Friday night in the Allman (known as one of Canada’s hockey cathedrals) created an unreal atmosphere to play in and there was nothing better than scoring a goal and hearing that loud horn followed by the crowd doing the warrior chant. Some of my favourite times were coming into the room after a big win, firing up the win song, getting together with the boys after to continue the celebration and coming into Saturday morning practice to grind /sweat it out together – (great team bonding). This was a great lesson I was able to carry on into college hockey – that winning teams are the closest knit teams, and everything about playing in Stratford affords you this opportunity.

It’s hard to choose one single favourite memory but in general I would say playing for the Cherry cup 2 or 3 years in a row and just playoff hockey in general was pretty exciting and special. Going into hostile territory in opposing arenas like Listowel, Cambridge and Elmira was pretty electric and playoffs at the Allman with a packed house was on another level.  I do recall one pretty intense playoff series with Listowel where the Cyclones coach may or may not have been running the stairs at the Allman at one of our practices during which a Stratford coach may or may not have been shooting pucks at said Listowel coach when his back turned to run up the stairs. Said Listowel coach may or may not have went on to coach the Warriors… I can neither confirm or deny this. Ha ha!