Growing up, the Cornwall Aces were a staple for me and many of my friends. Plenty of nights and Sunday afternoons were spent inside the Ed Lumley Arena cheering on such beloved names as Mike Hurlbut, Josef Marha, Jon Klemm and Aaron Miller just to name a few. A friend and I used to heckle the opposing teams but we learned our lesson when one player shot a puck into the crowd and hit a girl in front of us. We zipped our mouths after that.
Affiliated with the Quebec Nordiques and later the Colorado Avalanche, the Aces were a powerhouse team capturing two division titles in their 3 year history. I’d also like to say they had a hand in molding future Colorado Avalanche Stanley Cup Champion Stephane Yelle as well.
There are quite a few former Aces who have gone on and thrived in the NHL. Jocelyn Thibault, Todd Warriner, Janne Laukkanen and current GM of the New York Islanders, Garth Snow just to name a few. Former goaltender Jean Francois Labbe has actually returned to Cornwall to head coach the Cornwall River Kings of the LNAH.
With mascots Wild Thing, and Half-A-Deck, the Aces provided a fun environment for families to take in a game and spend the night. Prizes and memorabilia were given out at every game and I wish I still had my Wild Thing T-shirt.
It’s sad when a team leaves town. The Aces became dormant after they left but were brought back to life in the form of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. At least the two banners that hang from inside of the Ed Lumley Arena will keep them alive.