Is It Time For A Cornwall River Kings Mutiny?

(Photo: Robert Lefebvre)

Enough is enough.

I shook my head at the decisions that were made this off season. Between drafting a player who had already signed for another league, drafting kids from junior A who 9 times out of 10 will play pro somewhere else in the world before the LNAH, signing guys whose highest level of play is junior B, and so on.

You can’t blame the players; they’re busting their asses no matter their skill level. But this is not a developmental league. You’re playing and drafting to win. Not to develop. And I’ve said it before but you’re either a hockey guy or you’re not.

Of course I was met with the opposition of “Give them a chance! They haven’t even played a game yet!” and rightfully so.

But take a look at the standings right now.

The River Kings, at the time of writing this, are 2-12-1 with a total of 5 points. Obviously last place. The next team ahead of them, Laval, currently have 17. Recipe for disaster? You bet.

You see when teams don’t win, fans don’t show up to games. And when fans don’t show up to games, owners lose money.  Mr. Moreau said he needed between 1500-2000 fans at each home game just to break even this season. Tonight’s game (a 6-2 loss to Trois Rivieres), had not even 1000.

When Steve Moreau bought the Cornwall River Kings and became the fan base’s saviour, there was a glimmer of hope in the struggling semi pro hockey club.

That is until he kept Rick Lalonde as coach and gave him the General Manager position at the same time. Giving someone both of those positions is a HUGE red flag. Who, from a hockey mind or hockey guy stand point is going to hold him accountable for his decisions? Sure, he had his “advisors”, but he has the final say.

What’s he going to do, fire himself if things go sour?

Rick Lalonde may be a great junior coach and had a great junior career. But he is not capable of keeping a locker room at the pro level in the LNAH. Former players have expressed to me their distaste of his coaching style.  If it would be one thing if it was just one or two guys, but I could ice a full line of players.

Some trades have been made for a couple of up and comers, which is great and a positive step in the right direction. However, I feel it might be too late. Not just for the season but the team in general. I’d say to prove me wrong but how many times have I said it in the past? Something needs to be done. The hardcore fans who have stuck by this team through thick and thin don’t deserve this.

Where the hell is Steve Simoes when you need him?

(P.S. I know I shouldn’t have to say this but I know people will twist my words. This is nothing personal against Rick Lalonde, obviously. It’s strictly hockey.)


Ashley Tait and the IIHF Continental Cup

(Originally published in the October 2015 edition of On Fire, the Coventry Blaze match night program) 

The Coventry Blaze are embarking on an already busy schedule for the 2015-2016 season. This October, the schedule will throw a dagger into what the players are used too. Having won the league championship, the year before, the Blaze earned themselves a spot to compete in the IIHF Continental Cup. Coventry’s group play will be held in Tychy, Poland and the Continental Cup tournament will see the top teams in European countries play for the title of Europe’s best.

No team from the UK has won the Continental Cup since its creation in 1997. However, many teams have entered. The 2001 London Knights squad came close having lost in the finals to the ZSC Lions from Zurich, Switzerland. The Blaze are no strangers to the tournament. This will mark the fifth time that Coventry has entered into the challenge since the cup’s inception in 1997. They’ve finished in some very respectable places as well, no doubt a nod to the fine recruiting the brass does each year.

One person on this year’s Coventry squad has graced European ice with Continental Cup experience.

That man is your captain.

Ashley Tait was apart of the 2005-2006 Blaze squad that traveled over to Grenoble, France for their group action. Their bracket included the Amstel Tigers from the Netherlands, the Herning Blue Fox out of Denmark and the hosts, Bruleurs de Loups Grenoble.  Coventry eventually lost to Grenoble in the last round of their group play and it signaled a start to the decline of the rest of the season as the Blaze fell into injury after injury. Nevertheless, it is an experience that Tait holds dear to his heart. “I’ve been fortunate enough to play in two Continental Cups and enjoyed them both,” remembers Tait fondly. “I always enjoy experiencing foreign cultures and generally just getting to play in and see another part of the world is a nice perk that being a hockey player gives you.”

As the underdogs, the 2005 Blaze had no pressure going into the tournament. It will likely be the same for the 2015 Blaze when they commence their journey as well.  Tait holds the key to leadership. If you don’t believe me just look at this stat: Ashley Tait has iced for the Blaze for eight seasons and he’s been named captain for all of them.Obviously I’m very proud to be in that position,” said Tait. “But I’d like to think how I play and conduct myself on and off the ice wouldn’t differ if I was wearing a letter or not.”  There are a lot of fresh faces on this Blaze roster who are new to not only the EIHL but to Continental Cup play as well.   will be a good place to test skills and determination; come back to the homeland as better players. Tait will be called upon to keep the locker room calm and rally the troops to burst when needed. He’s also tasked with keeping the players in check. No partying on game night, right? The players will listen. Why?

11063768_10154228779069622_1366693762254966378_nBecause Ashley Tait is well respected.

Tait has had quite a career thus far in British ice hockey. At 40 years old, the man can fly up and down the rink like the latest North American import who has just gotten off the plane. He has a vast amount of championships written to his name including IIHF World Silver and Bronze medals. His accomplishments allowed him to be chosen on a side that played against the Boston Bruins. Tait literally has no down side to his game. His work ethic is applauded by many and desired by all.

As the Blaze make their way over to the Stadion Zimowy in Tychy, Poland, all areas of the game must be addressed. Will travel and fatigue become a factor in the tournament? Tait doesn’t think so. “Not especially. It’s not too far for us to travel and we’ll travel on a day we don’t play.” The extra rest will help but there’s another thing that gives Tait a minor worry. “I think adjusting to the bigger ice will be more of a concern initially.”

“It’s generally (the tournament) a very quick 3 games in 3 days. It’s really all about being ready for the games, not worrying about being tired and making sure you enjoy it.” This year’s Cup presents another challenge for Ashley as well. “Unfortunately I’ve haven’t been able to progress beyond the first round. Hopefully I can help change that this time.” The Coventry Blaze have been pooled in group C in the second round of the Challenge Cup competition. In their bracket, the Blaze will face GKS Tychy (Poland), CSM Dunarea Galati (Romania) and the winner of group A. The second round of the Continental Cup tournament takes place October 23-25 in Tychy, Poland.


An exciting three day tournament is being held in the city of Cornwall, Ontario that is sure to showcase the best of Junior A hockey this side of the Manitoba border. The Eastern Canada All Star Challenge is set to take place November 16-18 at the Benson Centre.

Returning to it’s founding league of the CCHL, the Challenge is slated to have numerous NCAA and NHL scouts in attendance to watch the nine teams battle it out. The CCHL will supply two teams, Team Yzerman and Team Robinson with Cornwall Colts bench boss Ian MacInnis headmanning the latter. The Nothern Ontario Hockey League will send one along with the Quebec and Maritime Junior Hockey Leagues.

The Ontario Junior Hockey League based in and around Toronto will send four squads to Cornwall, a total of 80 players with 20 of those committed to Division 1 NCAA schools.

The round robin begins on Monday the 16th with the QJHL taking on OJHL Team Coffey at 6pm. For more info, head on over to

The complete rosters are as follows:


Coughlin Ryan April 19 1997 G L 6-1 188 Cumberland
Andriano Ian August 11 1996 G L 6-0 186 Ottawa
White Cameron March 12 1997 D L 6-2 187 Ottawa
Joseph Marcus May 8 1997 D L 5-8 181 Sacred Heart (17-18) Carleton Place
Lawson Geoffrey May 15 1997 D L 5-11 195 Robert Morris (17-18) Ottawa
Kovacevic Johnathan July 12 1997 D R 6-3 217 Merrimack (17-18) Ottawa
Rappleyea Sean February 3 1995 D R 5-10 177 Ottawa
List Cale August 8 1998 D L 6-2 193 Umass Lowel (17-18) Pembroke
Croteau Louis-Charles May 9 1996 F R 5-8 176 Kanata
Vella Paul March 2 1996 F L 5-9 178 Gloucester
Billings Jack October 4 1995 F R 5-9 182 Brockville
Mereiles Greg January 1 1999 F R 5-9 173 Ottawa
Makara Branden May 22 1997 F R 5-9 174 Cumberland
McCaw Luke May 31 1996 F R 5-11 180 Nepean
Cameron Shawn August 30 1995 F R 5-11 189 Cumberland
Blais Jesse April 27 1995 F R 5-11 189 Pembroke
Pearson Jim Dec 14 1995 F R 5-8 170 Ottawa
St.Pierre Maxime April 26 1996 F R 6-2 222 Carleton Place
Larose Michael Dec 13 1997 F L 6-1 187 Cumberland
Frechette Martin May 4 1997 F L 5-7 155 Vermont (16-17) Cumberland
Martin Dagenais Head Coach Ottawa Jr Senators
Sylvain Favreau Assistant Coach Cumberland Grads
Dan Sauve Assistant Coach Ottawa Jr Senators
Richard Dupuy Trainer Cumberland Grads
Carmelo Pugliese Equipment Manager Nepean Raiders
Sean Marcellus CCHL Staff CCHL


DeBrouwer Evan Jan. 31 1997 G L 6’1 201 Smiths Falls
Point Colton March 7 1998 G L 6’3 220 Colgate (17-18) Carleton Place
Henry Jared March 21 1996 D L 6′ 188 Smiths Falls
MacMillan Chris June 13 1995 D R 6’1 192 Smiths Falls
Craig Ross Nov 1 1996 D R 5’11 186 Colgate (16-17) Cornwall
Grant Owen Jan 22 1998 D R 5’11 181 Vermont (17-18) Carleton Place
Wichers Quinn Aug 19 1997 D L 6’4 215 Kemptville
Russell Cameron Aug 25 1995 D L 5’11 175 Kemptville
Curran Johnny March 14 1995 F R 5’9 175 Western Michigan (16-17) Smiths Falls
Batt Lucas May 4 1996 F L 5’11 194 Carleton Place
Larson Jordan May 13 1995 F L 5’9 191 Alabama-Huntsville (16-17) Carleton Place
Murray Brett July 20 1998 F L 6’5 211 Penn State (17-18) Carleton Place
Cooper Grant July 20 1996 F L 6’0 180 Dartmouth (17-18) Cornwall
Lalonde Nick Jan 30 1998 F R 5’9 168 Cornwall
Spink Tanner Sept 4 1996 F L 5’10 175 Cornwall
Folkes Liam Feb 26 1996 F R 5’8 167 Penn State (16-17) Brockville
Tackett Jason Aug 13 1995 F L 5’11 177 Ferris State (16-17) Kemptville
Tugnutt Matt May 14 1996 F L 5’10 181 Kemptville
Cyr Jonathan May 4 1996 F L 6’1 213 Hawkesbury
Van Horn Bryce May 3 1996 F R 6,0 199 Carleton Place
Ian MacInnis Head Coach Cornwall Colts
Mark Grady Assistant Coach Smiths Falls
Rick Dorval Assistant Coach Hawkesbury Hawks
Sheldon Adams Trainer Nepean Raiders
Sean Marcellus CCHL Staff CCHL


Sommers Tanner May 13 1998 G L 5-10 150 Miramichi Timberwolves
Mann-Dixon Blade April 29/1997 G L 5-7 150 Valley Wild
Bernier Alexandre May 26 1997 D R 5-9 160 Dieppe Commandos
Baggs Riley May 5 1997 D R 6-2 175 Truro Bearcats
Paul Matthew May 7 1997 D R 6-0 173 Amherst Ramblers
Dower Lee April 26 1996 D L 5-11 180 Miramichi Timberwolves
Morgan Matthew October 3 1997 D R 5-9 170 Pictou Weeks Crushers
Poirier Michael August 31 1995 D L 6-1 195 Dieppe Commandos
Banville Eddie July 30 1997 F L 5-9 150 Campbelltpn Tigers
Barron Matt March 25 1999 F R 5-10 170 Yarmouth Mariners
MacLeod Gregor June 7 1998 F L 5-11 160 Campbellton Tigers
Hastings Curtis December 27 1996 F L 5-9 170 County Aces
King Sammy May 11 1998 F L 5-9 165 Woodstock Slammers
Deacon John April 8 1995 F R 6-0 175 Valley Wildcats
Erbs Johnny April 9 1996 F L 5-8 177 Woodstock Slammers
Shatford Josh December 3 1996 F R 5-9 180 South Shore Lumberjacks
Stavert Thomas February 20 1995 F L 5-10 185 Summerside Western Capitals
Young Ricky March 19 1996 F L 5-11 180 County Aces
Bridges Blaize February 7 1995 F R 5-8 175 Summerside Western Capitals
Soper Jimmy May 19 1995 F L 6-1 175 Truro Bearcats
Dave Ritcey President NOJHL
Shawn Evans Coach Truro Bearcats
Nick Greenough Coach Valley Wildcats
Josh Heptich Coach County Aces
Ashley Merrithew Athletic Therapist Dieppe Commandos
Steve Lindsay Equipment Manager Truro Bearcats


Dube-Rochon Sebastien July 13 1995 G 5-11 190
Labrecque Brady February 13 1997 G 6-0 176
Fillion Jonathan August 24 1996 D 5-10 177
Larouche Keven April 19 1996 D 6-0 188
Cote William March 14 1997 D 5-9 190
Amyot Mathieu July 12 1996 D 6-3 220
Marcotte David February 17 1995 D 5-11 180
Michaud Edouard September 22 1997 F 6-0 172
Brennan Joey May 1 1997 F 5-7 160
Ouelett Jonathan February 10 1997 F 5-11 185
Caron Joel May 1 1996 F 5-6 172
Boullion Marc-Antoine Februray 16 1995 F 5-10 170
Auger Jeremy March 28 1996 F 5-8 175
St-Hilaire Deven March 3 1995 F 6-0 180
Bernier Justin September 16 1997 F 5-7 150
Pouliot Antoine June 21 1996 F 6-2 200
Lapierre Tommy November 8 1996 F 5-11 190
Beaulieu Jean-Philippe May 19 1996 F 6-1 190
Plante Maxime August 15 1996 F 6-1 175
Boucher Felix November 23 1995 D 6-3 200
Pierre Petroni Head Coach
Jean-Philippe Hamel Assistant Coach
Gianni Cantini Assistant Coach
Stephan Blanchet Assistant Coach
Denis De Lafontaine Trainer


Forrest Garrett 07/07/1997 G L 5’11” 170 Powassan Voodoos
Lauzon Jamey 01/10/1997 F L 5’11” 175 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Arseneau Marc-Antoine 09/11/1995 F R 5’11” 170 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Pilon Darian 10/02/1998 F R 5’10” 170 Soo Thunderbirds
Jeffries Brett 10/06/1995 F R 5’11” 175 Soo Thunderbirds
Maguire Seamus 12/31/1995 F R 6’1″ 190 Cochrane Crunch
Mooney Ryan 05/05/1998 D R 5’10” 180 Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Chenier Bradley 01/20/1999 F R 5’10” 175 Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Bellini Jaren 05/22/1996 F R 5’9″ 180 Soo Thunderbirds
Desgagnes Adam 03/09/1997 D L 6’0″ 180 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Nagy Eric 10/28/1997 D R 6’0″ 190 Powassan Voodoos
Harland Steve 05/10/1996 F R 5’10” 170 Powassan Voodoos
Campbell Nathan 04/27/1995 D L 6’0″ 160 Elliot Lake Wildcats
Boman Caleb 11/04/1997 D L 6’0″ 205 Soo Thunderbirds
Salerno Aiden 11/02/1995 D R 6’3″ 210 Soo Thunderbirds
Atchison Hunter 11/06/1996 F R 6’2″ 210 Cochrane Crunch
Peters Tyler 04/21/1996 F R 6’1″ 212 Powassan Voodoos
MacKenzie Alec 04/16/1996 F L 6’4″ 190 Elliot Lake Wildcats
MacLean Spencer 03/26/1996 F L 6’5″ 225 Elliot Lake Wildcats
Mackay Aaron 10/10/1997 G L 6’0″ 190 Elliot Lake Wildcats
Mike Mooney Director of Operations Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Kevin Cain Ass’t Dir. of Operations Soo Thunderbirds
Nathan Hewitt Head Coach Elliot Lake Wildcats
Scott Wray Assistant Coach Powassan Voodoos
Jason Young Assistant Coach Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Lisa Parise Athletic Trainer Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Carla Vine Athletic Trainer Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Bryan Workman Equipment Manager Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Marc Hebert Equipment Manager Soo Thunderbirds
Robert Mazzuca Commissioner NOJHL


MASTERS Andrew G 25/May/95 6’1″ 210 L Georgetown
LATINOVICH Nick G 4/Mar/97 6’2″ 185 L Orangeville
CURRIE Tyler D 11-Feb-95 5’11” 173 R Toronto Patriots
FALCAO Jake D 3-Feb-97 6’1″ 180 R Wellington
PANETTA Jacob D 16-Jan-96 5’11” 195 L Wellington Colgate (NCAA)
PAUL Willy D 22/Jun/96 6’1″ 195 L Burlington
FERRARO Mario D 17/Sep/98 5’10” 160 L Toronto Patriots Western Michigan (NCAA)
DICLEMENTE Kristopher D 19/Jan/98 6’3″ 195 L Lindsay
CORIC Nikolas F 19/Jan/96 5’10” 175 L Whitby
HUDGIN Jon F 10/Feb/96 5’10” 180 R Pickering
HARDIE Daniel F 11/Jun/98 5’10” 170 L Georgetown
DICKINSON Josh F 17/Nov/97 6’2″ 185 L Georgetown
KEENAN Luke F 22/Jul/98 6′ 185 L Whitby
SEKELYK Chris F 6-Aug-96 6’1″ 200 L Pickering
BERETTA Thomas F 8/Apr/95 6’1″ 192 R St. Michael’s Michigan Tech (NCAA)
FARGEY Hunter F 23/Feb/95 5’11” 185 R Trenton
HANLON Danny F 3/Jan/95 5’10” 177 L Trenton
MORGAN Liam F 27/Jun/98 5’10” 215 R Trenton
JORDAN Noah F 8/Mar/97 6’5″ 219 R St. Michael’s
LATTAVO Thomas F 5/Apr/96 6’2″ 210 R Mississauga


Co-Coach:  Joe Washkurak (Mississauga Chargers)
Co-Coach: Brendan Taylor (Oakville Blades)
Athletic Therapist: Sarah Ditmars (Trenton Golden Hawks)
Equipment Manager: Derek Ho (Mississauga Chargers)



COLITTO Nathan G 29-Jun-95 5’11” 170 L Markham
DURANTE Stefano G 4/Jun/96 5’11” 158 L Cobourg
DUNLOP Matthew D 31/Mar/95 5’10” 165 R Markham
BERNARD Matthew D 6/May/97 6’1″ 188 R Aurora Niagara (NCAA)
SMITH Adam D 6/Nov/96 6’2″ 200 L Newmarket Bowling Green (NCAA)
PIZZO Andrew D 8/Aug/96 6’2″ 177 L Buffalo
KUDLA Patrick D 2/Apr/96 6’3″ 185 L Oakville
LOCKE Kyle D 9/May/96 6’2″ 220 R Aurora
VALKO Brendan F 23/Jul/96 5’10” 165 R Markham
RAJIC Christian F 2/Jun/97 5’8″ 155 R Oakville
BOARD Drake F 8/Jan/96 5’7″ 150 L Aurora Niagara (NCAA)
MANTENUTO Daniel F 18/Oct/97 5’10” 165 L Aurora Robert Morris (NCAA)
RINALDI Anthony F 17/Aug/95 6′ 180 R Kingston
TONGE Colin F 10/Feb/98 5’10” 180 L Kingston Princeton (NCAA)
SPIVAK Aaron F 13/Jan/95 6′ 185 L Markham
WISEMAN Ethan F 14/Sep/97 6’1″ 190 R Orangeville
GARVEY Ryan F 27/Jun/96 6′ 190 L Oakville
STACK Connor F 7/Jul/95 6′ 180 L Orangeville
WORRAD Drew F 30/Jun/97 6′ 175 R Oakville Clarkson (NCAA)
RIGNEY Colin F 16/Aug/96 6′ 180 L Orangeville


Co-Coach: Dan West (Lindsay Muskies)
Co-Coach: Brent Hughes (North York Rangers)
Athletic Therapist: Julie Chiu (Aurora Tigers)
Equipment Manager: Harvey Boutilier (Toronto Patriots)            


URBANI Daniel G 21/Jun/95 6′ 200 L Trenton
McGRATH Jacob G 11/Aug/99 6′ 152 L St. Michael’s Sudbury (OHL)
OLIVER Blayne D 17/Mar/95 5’11” 185 L Trenton
ROY Brennan D 1/Nov/96 6′ 192 L Cobourg
O’HARA Jon D 2/Apr/95 6′ 185 R Whitby Mercyhurst (NCAA)
THOM Matthew D 18/May/98 6’3″ 200 R Georgetown Princeton (NCAA)
DUNN Sam D 11/Mar/98 6’2″ 218 R Cobourg
CAIRNS Matthew D 27/Apr/98 6’3″ 203 L Georgetown Cornell (NCAA)
SMILSKY Lucas F 26/May/97 5’7″ 160 R Orangeville
MAIOLINO Justin F 1/Feb/95 5’7″ 165 R Toronto Jr. Canadiens Niagara (NCAA)
URSITTI Nicholas F 1/Feb/96 5’8″ 170 R Toronto Patriots
BERGER Christopher F 14/Apr/98 5’10” 171 L Buffalo Brown (NCAA)
EVANCHO Zach F 2/Jun/95 5’8″ 160 L Buffalo Army (NCAA)
NICKSIC Tim F 15/Mar/96 5’10” 175 R Buffalo
LOCKE Brenden F 9/Oct/97 5’10” 176 L Cobourg
KIRTON Scott F 24/Aug/96 6’1″ 175 L Whitby
McLAUGHLIN James F 13/Apr/96 6′ 200 L Orangeville Dartmouth (NCAA)
TAYLOR Ryan F 27-Jan-96 6′ 180 R Whitby
BROWN Lucas F 25/Sep/96 5’10” 190 R Trenton
LEWIS Theo F 2/Jul/96 6’3″ 205 R Cobourg


Co-Coach: Mark Jooris (Burlington Cougars)
Co-Coach: Kirby Tokarski (Burlington Cougars)
Athletic Therapist: TBD
Equipment Manager: Craig Clayton (Oakville Blades)    


BAGGETTA Gianluca G 31-Dec-95 5’10” 170 L North York
LOPAPA Daniel G 2/May/96 5’10” 175 R Toronto Jr. Canadiens
DeSOUSA Daniel D 14/Mar/96 5’11” 180 R Mississauga
TOPATIGH Derek D 3/Mar/97 5’11” 185 R Orangeville Princeton (NCAA)
COFFEY Blake D 27-Jan-98 5’11” 180 R Pickering
SZABO Jeremy D 7/Apr/95 5’11” 200 L North York
BRAND Justin D 12/Jan/96 6’2″ 185 L Whitby
O’GRADY Ryan D 27/May/95 6′ 205 L Cobourg
MORGAN Michael F 27/May/95 5’9″ 165 R North York
TEOFILO Joseph F 26/May/97 5’9″ 160 R Milton
SOKAY Ben F 24-Jan-97 6′ 175 R Wellington Niagara (NCAA)
GOMES Nathan F 23/Sep/96 5’10” 185 L Burlington
JEFFERS Jack F 21/Sep/97 5’11” 175 L Burlington
THOMSON David F 8/Oct/97 5’10” 180 L Burlington
VOLPE Dan F 19/Mar/95 5’11” 190 L Burlington
CAMPOLI Nick F 16-Feb-99 5’11” 174 L North York
TAKAMATSU Ryan F 23/May/97 6′ 170 R North York
BALES Jackson F 28/Aug/97 6’1″ 180 R Oakville Merrimack (NCAA)
KOSACK Josh F 25/Jun/97 6′ 185 R Oakville
BROWN Luc F 27-Apr-96 6′ 175 R Wellington Union (NCAA)  


Co-Coach: Jamie Caruso (Orangeville Flyers)
Co-Coach: Mario Cicchillo (Toronto Jr. Canadiens)
Athletic Therapist: Amanda Gilroy (Markham Royals)
Equipment Manager: Andrew Groombridge (Georgetown Raiders)                                                                                        


( Photo: OJHL Images)

Since I’ve finally been able to put a few Ontario Junior Hockey League games underneath my belt, it’s time to give praise where it’s due. The most recent game I’ve had a chance to catch was last Friday’s tilt between the Trenton Golden Hawks and Newmarket Hurricanes.

Despite the injury bug taking a bite out of the Hawks towards the end of the  game,  they still managed to fire shot after shot towards Hurricanes netminder, Connor Ryckman. I happened to notice that if there’s one thing the Golden Hawks do extremely well, it’s get out of their own end in a flash. No matter what the rush, at times it feels like there’s no point in back-checking for their opponents and if you can’t catch up your last line of defence is your goaltending.

And what a treat it was to watch Ryckman.

(Connor Ryckman. Photo: OJHL Images)
(Connor Ryckman. Photo: OJHL Images)

I come from years of watching the CCHL and that league does not hold a candle in terms of skill level to the OJHL. It was a bit of an eye opener for me to see the bar set high by goaltenders in this league.  Ryckman, a former Barrie Colts draft pick, turned away an impressive 32 of 34 shots but what stood out the most was his aggressiveness to cut down the angle on any quick Trenton rush. As the game went through two overtimes to only end in a 2-2 tie, the goals Ryckman gave up were out of his control. This did not rattle him at all.

That’s not to take away from his goalie opposition on Friday night. Daniel Urbani who, when he’s hot, he’s smoking, currently leads the OJHL with a 929% save percentage and 1.62 goals against average. A far cry from what I’m used to in the CCHL. He picked up Goaltender of the Month honours and was also instrumental in eliminating Trenton during last season’s playoffs when he was a member of the Kingston Voyageurs. It’ll be interesting to see how deep of a playoff push he can help make with the Hawks.

One of the biggest differences in the OJHL compared to it’s Eastern Ontario counterpart is the players actually want to play physical. They attempt body checks whether they land them or not. They are not afraid to get dirty and get into the corners. That is what helps get people in the doors and spend money on your team. Of course, for Trenton, it helps when your team is currently 3rd in the country too.

Goaltending in the OJHL is a step above and is great for fans of the position. The development of every position however, keeps the OJHL remaining the “League of Choice” for many NCAA prospects.

Tyson Spink earns Colgate University milestone

(Photo: Colgate University Athletics)

The Colgate University Raiders skated to a 5-2 victory over the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers on Friday night but it was a lone maroon senior that stole the show.

Williamstown’s Tyson Spink recorded two goals and an assist in the win with the assist coming on on a slapper from his brother Tyler. The three point night puts the senior into some select Colgate company.

Spink becomes the 51st player in Colgate history to reach the 100 career point milestone. He joins fellow local Colgate Raider, Jesse Winchester in the feat.

The Colgate University Raiders are based in Hamilton, New York. They currently sit third in the ECAC Hockey conference.

Kevin Noble – Ready To Bleed Blue

(Printed in the September 2015 edition of On Fire, the match night program of the Coventry Blaze)

By: Ashley March

When the Coventry Blaze were looking to fill another defensive slot for their 2015/2016 season, an unfamiliar name popped up on their radar. A 28 year old Canadian out of Sparwood, British Columbia, came into the forefront of the Blaze roster picture. Having just spent a full season with one of the best teams in the East Coast Hockey League, the Tulsa Oilers, Kevin Noble had started earning himself a reputation. No, it wasn’t on the scoresheet but it was with his fists.

Noble connected for 125 penalty minutes in 68 games with the Oilers. His 6’1 frame saw him collide with fellow ECHL tough guys, Garrett Clarke and Jean Phillip Chabot, earning him respect during his first full professional season. With every squad he’s had the chance of icing with, Noble has been one of the top leaders in penalty minutes. Don’t let that stat deter you though. Those penalties were taken for a reason and not for granted. As signings in the Elite Ice Hockey League continued to get stronger with rival teams signings ex-NHL tough guys this summer, the Blaze needed toughness. With Noble, that’s exactly what they’ll get and fans in the SkyDome will be sure to be entertained.

For Noble, a spot on the Blaze gives him the chance to learn from some of the best in professional hockey; not only with the team but the league itself. Already a proven leader, Noble was granted captaincy of the NCAA’s Mercyhurst College Lakers in his senior year. Majoring in Sport Business, Noble majored in assists on the ice. His natural play-making ability combined with his skill to be two steps ahead of the play worked in his favour on his quest to the professional ranks. While he bounced around the ECHL and the now defunct Central Hockey League, Noble found himself at home with the Oilers In Tulsa, Oklahoma. As the state of minor hockey in North America got shuffled around, rosters were changed and some players were left without a home. With changes come new jerseys and for Noble, the perfect fit was Coventry blue.

From his Junior A days on the west coast of Canada with the Nanaimo Clippers, Noble has been an exceptional ray of light on any team he’s been a part of; especially when the course went down the stretch and into the playoffs. Noble helped the Clippers to a playoff berth 42 points in 59 games during his last season. All 200 pounds of him on the blue line kept opponents in check and as always, something an EIHL playoff bound team will need.

Noble also has the chance to learn from one of the best coaches the sport of hockey has ever seen, Chuck Weber. However, in return, Weber gets to mold a fresh, young and newly professional player and have him fit to his game plan however he wants. That’s very unique for an import in the league to be fairly new to professional hockey. Noble will be ready, willing and extremely eager to prove to not only Weber, but to the Blaze ‘Blue Army’ that he has what it takes to make an impact in UK hockey.

The past off season has seen Noble run a hockey school with two other fellow BC native hockey players. Based in Invermere, British Columbia, the Columbia Valley Hockey School is thriving with helping churn out the next generation of junior hockey players in Canada.

He has the book smarts and he has the ice smarts. The future of professional hockey for Kevin Noble is clear sailing and the sky is the limit. Just make sure that sky is blue.

Blaze blue.



(Originally posted for the Seaway News on Sept 22nd, 2015. Reprinted with permission. Special thanks to Todd for reaching out.)

By Todd Lihou

CORNWALL, Ontario – Where would the Montreal Canadiens be today without the likes of superstars like Georges Vezina and Cornwall’s own Edouard ‘Newsy’ Lalonde?

To put it bluntly – maybe nowhere.

Lalonde enshrined inside the Ed Lumley arena at the Cornwall Civic Complex.
Lalonde enshrined inside the Ed Lumley arena at the Cornwall Civic Complex.

The fabled National Hockey League team that has won more Stanley Cups than any other franchise can, in large measure, thank the exploits of Vezina and Lalonde for helping to solidify a foundation of greatness that later spawned the legends of household names like Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur.

“When he (Lalonde) was signed, all the other players signed with the Canadiens too, because they knew it would be a success,” said Andre Rivest, a sports journalist who specializes in history with La Presse in Montreal.

Ambrose O’Brien, the owner of the team, had hired Jack Laviolette to build the Canadiens and one of the first names on the short list of players was Lalonde.

“The name he really wanted was Newsy Lalonde,” said Rivest. “Without him, there would be no Montreal Canadiens.”

While Vezina has a trophy named after him, which is awarded to the league’s best goaltender every season, there’s relatively little else left for the likes of Lalonde – a man who scored more goals than any other Canadien from 1917 to 1922 when hockey had none of the stability and name-recognition of today.

lalonde2Perhaps that is why his exploits have been relegated to history.

There’s a small bronze plaque at one of the entrances to the Bell Centre in Montreal, the home of the Canadiens, that bears Lalonde’s name. His visage is also included among a row of others in a banner in the Habs locker room that speaks the immortal words: “To you from failing hands, we throw the torch.” He’s also a member of the ring of honour that circles the Bell Centre – the list of Canadiens players and builders in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

But that’s it. While other superstars have had jerseys retired, statues erected and numbers immortalized, Lalonde appears to some to be an afterthought in a city, and hockey temple, where former glory is discussed on a daily basis.

It was pointed out to Lalonde’s grandson Richard Quintal, who lives in Montreal, that Newsy shares some select company when it comes to the number he wore with the Canadiens, the 4 immortalized by Beliveau.

“Yes, but how many number 1s are up there?” said Quintal. “There are more than one number duplicates hanging from the ceiling. I don’t think it would be a problem.”

Well, kind of…and not really.

newsyThere is only a single number 1 retired by the Canadiens – Jacques Plante. The number 4 was thought by some to be “co-retired”…once for the great Beliveau and again for Aurele Joliat. But you won’t find Joliat’s name hanging from the rafters, only that of Le Gros Bill. Joliat attended the retirement ceremony in 1984 for Beliveau and got his own jersey with number 4 and “Joliat” on the back…but the jersey retirement belongs strictly to Beliveau.

In Cornwall the city finally got around to paying some respect to Lalonde, naming the paved entrance to the Cornwall Civic Complex off of Water Street ‘Newsy Lalonde Way’ back in 2010.

The dedication ceremony was attended by throngs of fans and Canadiens greats including Henri Richard and Rejean Houle.


Lalonde lived in Cornwall until he was 16, and then rode the boxcars out to Renfrew and Sault Ste. Marie to play hockey….when he wasn’t on the lacrosse field.

Before playing professional ice hockey, he worked in a newspaper plant, where he acquired the “Newsy” moniker and was regarded by many as one of hockey’s and lacrosse’s greatest assets of the first half of the 20th century.

“He used to say that he played hockey in between lacrosse seasons,” laughed Quintal.

lalonde1Lalonde scored 124 NHL goals for the Canadiens, beginning in the 1917-1918 season, including a remarkable 37 in 1919-1920 in just 23 games.

It is said that he even scored the first goal in Canadiens’ history in 1910. In the 1919 playoffs he scored 17 goals in just 10 games.

“Let’s be honest: he was a puck hog,” said Quintal, chuckling. “His goals versus assists is insane.”

Indeed, Lalonde ‘only’ had 41 assists in his five NHL seasons with the Canadiens. But he was also a champion, winning the Stanley Cup with the Habs (the first in team history) in 1916 as a playing coach. He scored 28 goals that season, in 24 games.

In 1950 he was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Surely all that (and more) has to be worth something more than he’s received thus far by way of tributes?

“When you look at what he accomplished, it’s hard to argue against what he did in those seasons,” said Steve Dryden, senior managing editor of hockey content for TSN in Toronto and a sports journalist who honed his craft at the Standard-Freeholder in Cornwall before ultimately becoming editor-in-chief of The Hockey News.

Dryden suggested other great Canadiens from the era prior to the Second World War have had their numbers retired or been honoured in some way.

“You’ve got Howie Morenz – he was the Babe Ruth of hockey – Aurele Joliat,  why not Newsy Lalonde?”

one_lalonde07Quintal is a little blunter in his assessment of the team and the way it has honoured Lalonde.

“The team’s recognition of him is non-existent,” said Quintal. “Jean Beliveau once, many years ago, I was talking with him and he recalled me from Grandpa’s funeral. He said the team should do something for him.”

When Lalonde died in 1970 his Cornwall funeral was attended by most, if not all, of the Canadiens legends to that point.

But it was an event just a few years prior to that that may have set Lalonde and Canadiens just a little bit apart, said Quintal.

The Molson family, owners of the team then (and again today) made the decision in the mid-1960s to discontinue free tickets to former players like Lalonde. A rift, however small, was started.

“His lifetime tickets didn’t last his lifetime,” said Quintal. “He didn’t really forgive them for that.”

But in the same interview Quintal suggests there was still a connection with the team in spite of the perceived snub: “By the time my brother and I were born…he was already 64 or 65. He was always fond of the Canadiens. He loved the game.”

Would the lack of a retired jersey irritate Cornwall’s most famous hockey export?

Not on your life, suggests Quintal.

0newsy“Without a doubt, he was one of the most humble men you could meet,” he said. “He’d blush. To him hockey was his job…yes he loved doing it, but he was not self-centred to say he was the first (superstar).

“He’d talk about it because he enjoyed playing.”

To be fair, Lalonde’s is not the only debate the Canadiens have had to deal with when it comes to retiring the numbers of its stars. There’s been a campaign to have Toe Blake’s number 6 raised to the rafters. He enjoyed success and Stanley Cups on the ice with Maurice Richard and later as a coach.

Jacques Lemaire is the only player from the Habs’ dynasty of the 1970s that does not have his number retired. He notched 835 points in 853 games. Bill Durnan’s number one is missing from the Bell Centre rafters…all he did was win six Vezina trophies (there’s that name again) and serve as a first-team all-star six times.

Canadiens archives and team history manager Carl Lavigne said the Habs have done it to themselves in a lot of ways.

“Obviously we’re victims of our own success – there’s no way around it,” he said. “It’s just like the (selections) for the Hockey Hall of Fame. They’re dealing with the same thing.”

Lavigne shied away from addressing a specific question as to why Lalonde’s number has not been retired.

He suggested such a decision is made by a committee of alumnae, journalists and Canadiens owner Geoff Molson. Lavigne added no jersey retirements are planned for this season.

“They decide when to look at it, and when to review it,” said Lavigne.

In the meantime, the debate, not unlike the ups and downs of a hockey season, will continue.

If you would like to add your name to a list of people looking to see Lalonde’s jersey retired, click here to join a social media group with similar thoughts.


Queen’s Gaels look to veteran Major Junior presence

With another Ontario University Athletics hockey season back for another  year, the Golden Gaels of Queen’s University will look towards the veteran presence of former major junior players to lead the team to victory.

Former Peterborough Pete and 2014 OHL Champion Guelph Storm defenceman, Steven Trojanovic, spent last season with the Huskies of St. Mary’s University out in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The 22 year old for Burlington, Ontario put up impressive numbers in the Ontario Hockey League and should have been drafted into the NHL. (Overlooked with a +/- of +42?!) That being said, the NHL’s loss is now Queen’s University’s’ gain. A tower of 6’2 on the blue line combined with his ability to produce in needed games is a fantastic addition to the Gaels.

Two men from the east coast chose Queen’s as the educational destination that provided the most for the student-athlete. Former Mississauga Steelheads goaltender and a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Jacob Brennan looks to make the most of both his academic and hockey career. Enrolled in engineering, Brennan was the starting goaltender for four years with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.  Just down the highway with the Moncton Wildcats, forward Shawn Bourdeau will trade his hometown of Kentville, Nova Scotia for Kingston, Ontario.

Absolutely no stranger to the city of Kingston is Slater Doggett. The 6’0 forward called Kingston home for two years in his OHL career as he suited up for the Frontenacs. His last OHL season saw him go almost a point a game with the Windsor Spitfires. After a minor attempt at pro hockey with the Alaska Aces in the East Coast Hockey League, Doggett saw himself falling back in love with Kingston for both his academic and university athletic career and will be a welcome home of sorts when he returns to the ice. As an added bonus, Doggett has been invited to the Chicago Blackhawks’ rookie camp.

Queen’s will start off the 2015-2016 season down the road on October 9th as they take on the Royal Military College Palladins.

The big home opening weekend comes on October 16th as the Gaels welcome the York University Lions to the Memorial Centre and October 17th as they welcome the Brock University Badgers.

MLB Line Looks To Strike Again For Trenton In Kingston

(Photo: OJHL Images)

After a phenomenal pre-season showing that saw the Golden Hawks skate to wins against the CCHL’s Brockville Braves and last year’s number two ranked squad, the Carleton Place Canadiens,  Trenton was heading into the home opener with bulldozing momentum.

The first installment of the Battle of Quinte West saw the Hawks glide to an 8-2 victory over rivals Wellington Dukes. The line of Lucas Brown, Kevin Lavoie and Liam Morgan led to knocking in a combined 6 goals and 10 assists. Impressed with the boys start, Coach Jerome DuPont stated that it was this line (and I’ll dub it, the MLB line) that was the deciding factor for Trenton in the game.


A native a Powassan, Ontario, Lucas Brown spent last season with the Eastern Hockey League’s New York Bobcats. Also an alumni of the Rocky Mountain Roughriders AAA program in Colorado, Brown sat second in point totals for New York come years end. Brown is one player that teams in the rest of the OJHL need to keep an eye. The quickness of his feet along with his quick release is a talent Trenton can rely on.

Lavoie. (Photo: OJHL Images)

Out of St. Catherine’s, Ontario, comes over-ager Kevin Lavoie. The 5’10 centreman had a remarkable season for Trenton shining in the both the regular and playoffs. A hardworking two-way forward, Lavoie was offered a full ride scholarship to Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh. After this season he’ll join former Carleton Place Canadiens captain, Elie Ghantous with a spot on the Colonels. The brass from his former GOJHL team, the Thorold Blackhawks had nothing but the best compliments to give him.

“He’s a dynamite kid,” former Thorold owner and director of hockey operations Dave Marrone said. “He was always the hardest working guy on the ice. He’s tenacious and he’s a key-situation guy, especially defensively. His backcheck was harder than his forecheck and he played a relatively physical style as well.” 

TRENTON, ON - Sep 12, 2014 : Ontario Junior Hockey League game action between North York and Trenton, Liam Morgan #8 of the Trenton Golden Hawks Hockey Club (Photo by Amy Deroche/ OJHL Images)
TRENTON, ON – Sep 12, 2014 : Ontario Junior Hockey League game action between North York and Trenton, Liam Morgan #8 of the Trenton Golden Hawks Hockey Club
(Photo by Amy Deroche/ OJHL Images)

17 year old Whitby native, Liam Morgan caps the end of the MLB line. After an explosive season with the Whitby Wildcats Minor Midget AAA, (40 points in 32 games), Morgan came to the Golden Hawks looking to make a name for himself. After one game, it looks like that reputation is coming. Morgan was drafted by the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League but chose to attempt to turn some heads in the NCAA. With 4 assists already bagged in and if he keeps up this play, there is no doubt a Division 1 school will come knocking.

The MLB line and the rest of the Trenton Golden Hawks will take the short trip down the 401 to Kingston where they will face the Canadiens on September 10th. Another test to challenge the squad in their young season. The Invista Centre should be rocking when the puck drops at 7:00pm.


From the press release sent earlier this week:

The Cornwall Colts are pleased to announce their first ever combined Junior/Midget AAA training camp.

Midget and Junior aged players can register beginning Monday, August 10th.The first day of camp will be fitness testing at the Benson Centre on Friday, August 21st and players will begin skating on Saturday, August 22nd.

“It’s a good opportunity for the players to realize what it takes to play at a high level,” said Colts Coach Ian MacInnis.

The training camp schedule is as follows:

August 21st, Fitness Testing – Jiffy Auto Service Field House @ Benson Centre

August 22nd, daily on ice sessions begin

August 25th, Midget AAA Colts @ Hawkesbury

August 27th, Colts Jr. A Blue & White game 8pm @ Ed Lumley Arena

August 28th, Colts Jr. A @ Hawkesbury

August 30th, Colts Jr. A vs. Hawks 2pm @ Ed Lumley Arena
                         Midget AAA vs Hawks 5pm @ Ed Lumley Arena
For more information about HEO Midget AAA please visit .

For more information on the camp or to register, please contact Ian MacInnis – or 613-662-3216

(Photo: Robert Lefevbre, Ice Level)