Hockey season is here again and once more we have another foray into semi-professional/professional hockey by the city of Cornwall. City council came out and said they don’t want to get into the “hockey business” but let’s face it, the name of the city is smack dab on the name of the team. Kind of have to go with the flow now. And they are. Just this week the city of Cornwall bought a rink board inside the Ed Lumley Arena. If that’s not a step in the right direction of a city giving a blessing for the team, then I don’t know what is.
But, why now? Well, for one, the Cornwall Nationals are in a completely different league. A league that has a bit more of a favourable opinion in the hockey world and a league that is trying to actually develop players to the next stage in their career (three FHL players signed with SPHL teams this week, a goaltender attended LA Kings training camp, some are on loan with AHL teams, and some have had ECHL try outs last year). It is not the same FHL that held the Akwesasne Warriors as champions. There’s no staged fighting and you’re not guaranteed a fight every game. I’ll let you decide on the quality of play when you see it.
That’s not to say you’re not going to get entertaining hockey out of this venture. Cornwall fans know how to make any team feel like Stanley Cup Champions no matter their record. You can’t deny the heart they put into saving the LNAH’s Cornwall River Kings and I expect that passion to continue with the Nationals especially since most are familiar with the FHL landscape. And for $13.00 a ticket? That’s cheaper then the Junior A Cornwall Colts for crying out loud.
Another thing worth pointing out with the Nationals is the crazy experience they are going have with their roster. A simple click on Elite Prospects can show you the average age of each team in the league. (excluding Cornwall because they are obviously not at full roster status yet). Luckily for you, I went and did this so you don’t have to: (Brewster either folded or went dormant for this year so I’m not counting them and St. Clair is starting up this year and in the middle of signing guys as well, as far as I recall.)
Average age based on 2015-2016 season
Watertown Wolves: 25 years old
Berlin River Drivers: 24 years old
Danbury Titans: 25 years old
Danville Dashers: 25 years old
Port Huron Prowlers: 25 years old
Most of the guys Cornwall has already signed are well above 25 years old and are coming off extraordinary pro careers. The majority of this league picks up guys just turning pro from junior or NCAA. Don’t get me wrong, there’s extreme talent happening in those two categories but you absolutely can not push aside the wealth of experience the Nationals already have in signing what, 7 guys already? Insane.
A lot of people brush me off with my opinions of hockey in Cornwall and that’s their right to do so. Just let me say one thing. The way this team is coming together in this league so far, I have my doubts that anyone will be able to stop them.
As long as the team doesn’t fold at Christmas.
Check back once the roster is complete for a complete player profile and run through so you can have an idea of who you’ll be cheering on!