Alumni Report: Ted Nichol
In the 101st minute of the OUA Queen's Cup Final, the University of Guelph's Ted Nichol burst over the blueline, got a puck from his teammate and fired it into the goal. From the broadcast booth, the words "Teddy Nichol rips it home! Go crazy Guelph, your Gryphons are seven-time OUA champions," could nearly be heard through the already raucous crowd.
For the seventh time in the 109 year history of the Queen's Cup, the Gryphons wrote themselves in the history books.
Nichol played with the Frontenacs for five seasons before moving onto U Sports hockey with the University of Guelph Gryphons. His final two years caught Guelph's eye as he finished his Ontario Hockey League career with a pair of 30+ point campaigns.
The Guelph Gryphons have enjoyed tremendous success in the Ontario university league (OUA) since Nichol joined the team, and the former fan favourite has played a major role in that.
In 2020, the Gryphons finished third in the OUA West, and waltzed their way to the final, earning a chance at the championship. Nichol's second season in Guelph was far better than his rookie year, however, his production slowed down in the postseason, only scoring a pair of points through eight games before the final.
To get a chance at the title, the Gryphons forced their way by a former Frontenacs teammate of Nichol, Luke Perrisini and the Western Mustangs. "We were lucky to get some pucks by him, he gets hot real quick and he was hot then," Nichol said of his former backstop.
After mustering a series win against the Mustangs, Nichol and co. punched their ticket to the final, a one-game showdown with the uOttawa Gee-Gees. The marathon of a game was a triple-overtime thriller, the longest in the trophy's history, and Nichol ended it. "It was pretty crazy, going into each over time you're just hoping someone scores you don't care who it is, you just hope it's on your team," said the eventual hero.
As overtime wore on, losing thoughts never crossed his mind, he got into a bit of a rhythm, however, rhythm did not avoid fatigue. Between intermissions, uOttawa's refuelling table turned barren, a player shouted asking for any sort of nourishment. On the Guelph bench, Nichol found a pack of sour gummy worms left out by the trainer. "We started [the third overtime] on the bench, I grabbed a few sour gummy worms and I guess that gave me the energy to get down the ice, get that pass and score."
While the gummy worms gave the second-year student-athlete an energy burst, he was already a leader on the ice, something he learned through his time in Kingston. Now 23-years-old, he still remembers the moment that he was named captain of the Frontenacs, another unforgettable moment that led to his OUA winning goal. "Coach called us in at a wrap-up meeting after practice and said that I was going to be captain for the season. It was a humbling experience and exciting at the same time," he said. "Something I'll never forget."
To end up scoring the winning goal for the Gryphons, Nichol took a different route than many Frontenacs who head to university. A lot who have gone to U Sports have stayed in Kingston, such as Liam Murray with the RMC Paladins or another former captain, Ryan Cranford who now skates for the Queen's Gales. But for Nichol, Guelph was always on his radar. His older brother went there and won the 2015 Queen's Cup, the team's previous one before 2020, making it the perfect fit.
Ted and his championship teammates never got to make a run to the U Sports National Championship, which was called off prematurely due to COVID-19, but the team managed to have a small celebration over the summer. "We had to wait a long time to actually celebrate and it was a good fun celebration."
The Gryphons will not get to defend their title this year, as the OUA and U Sports cancelled the 2020-21 season with the same concerns that halted the Gryphons' national title campaign in the spring. However, that does not take away from the outstanding season that they and Nichol had in 2019-20, a year that ended like a fairytale for the former Frontenacs captain.
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Ontario Hockey League Stories from October 22, 2020
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- Alumni Report: Ted Nichol - Kingston Frontenacs
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