Jeff Legue: Two Cities and the sport of hockey

Cornwall_RoyalsOn the Ontario shores near the central part of the St. Lawrence River lies a city whose habitants ignite a passion for a cold and frosty game. As most Canadian cities do, this one has been breeding hockey players and fans for the better part of 100 years. The history of hockey runs deep in the hard working and blue collar city of Cornwall, Ontario. Many teams have come and gone; championship memories are few and far between but most residents can recall where they were when the Memorial Cup was raised on three separate occasions and which hometown boys have made names for themselves in the game.

After the demise of the major junior powerhouse Cornwall Royals in 1992, fans were left with a gaping hole in their hearts. Junior hockey had just started to become a major attraction across the country. Prayers were answered quickly however when across the river in nearby Massena, New York, the Junior A team of the Americans were sold over the Seaway International Bridge to Cornwall. Renamed the Colts, the new group quickly grew an intensive following even if it was step down in play from the Royals.

Small Canadian cities such as this always come with their own breed of hockey fan. This fan will not only know the life story of every player to ever step onto the hometown rinks, but every stat that comes flowing in.  It was no different when hometown boy Jeff Legue laced up his skates night after night and stepped out onto the ice at the Si Miller Arena. He felt like a superstar as fans would stop and ask him for autographs and kids would chant his name as they filled the old barn. “Growing up in a small town that has a successful hockey team is any young players dream,” recalls Legue fondly. “When I got the chance to play in front of a sold out Si Miller Arena, I fulfilled that young hockey players dream.” It wasn’t just his dream. Family, friends and fans alike knew how special it was to have a homegrown superstar stay on the city’s squad. “Both my friends and family got to watch me grow and progress as a player and to this day I believe that’s what helped me the most throughout my junior career.”

In the late 1990’s, the Cornwall Colts were nothing short of a wrecking crew. Finishing a top of the Robinson Division in the Canadian Junior A Hockey League, Legue and the Colts captured two Art Bogart Cups which sent the squad to the Fred Page Cup championships. During his second season with the Colts, the dominance continued as they won the Fred Page tournament and headed off to Nationals in Fort McMurray, BbFMg9oCAAAlZhJAlberta. Even though they went winless, Legue remains proud of the accomplishments. “That year stands out to me the most; we played as a team. We all had our own part in helping our team become successful.”

Successful they were. Legue lists off players who he recognises as the “unsung heroes” on the ice that year. Names like Lindsay Campbell, Ross McCain, Sylvain Moreau, Jarret Robertson and Tim Vokey are thrown about with smiles and fondness. The ultimate compliment however is reserved for someone who doesn’t need any introduction to Cornwall hockey circles, Coach Al Wagar. “Al believed in me,” says Legue with authority. “I was put in all situations at the beginning of my career which gave me lots of experience early.” Wagar coached the Colts for the better part of the decade and along with ownership played a pivotal role in the teams’ success. “He told me my job was to go out and create opportunities. He gave me freedom on the ice. Al Wagar was a great coach for me.”

Legue’s skills both on and off the ice started catching the eyes of NCAA recruiters. After looking over a few offers, the Bulldogs that belonged to Ferris State University became the perfect fit for Jeff to start his successful collegiate career. Located in Big Rapids, Michigan, the Ferris State Bulldogs skate out of the Robert L. Ewigleben Ice Arena; an arena that seats just about 2,500. Along with former Colts teammates Tim Vokey and Matt Verdone, Legue skated alongside current NHLer and Pittsburgh Penguins’ Chris Kunitz; no doubt learning as much as he could from such talented leadership. After contributing a point in each of his 152 collegiate games, it was time to turn professional. After a stint on two different teams in the East Coast Hockey League, Europe came calling. It was time to make some hockey ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’.

In the middle of the United Kingdom lies a city of just over 500,000 people. A hard working and blue collar steel town, the passion for sport runs deep in the city’s inhabitants. Football was a main stay for many in the city of Sheffield and with it came its own special breed of sporting fan. Still reeling from the loss of 96 passionate football fans that were crushed to death in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster two years earlier, a new sport was about to take over in the fall of 1991. Sheffield Arena (now known as Motorpoint Arena) had been built with much precision and its main resident became the Sheffield Steelers Ice Hockey Club. While hockey had been played in the UK for over a hundred years, it just never seemed to catch on. That was about to change.

Arguably the Sheffield Steelers had reached their peak in popularity during the mid-1990s. Partly due to the renaissance that the sport of ice hockey was having and partly due to the squad becoming the first real professional club of its kind in the UK; for all intents and purposes, money talked. You could watch most games from this era and you’d swear it was an NHL game just from the fans that filled the arena. The Steelers were crowned the last champions in 1996 of the Heineken sponsored British Hockey League before the premier of what was the British Ice Hockey Superleague.

(Photo: Dean Woolley)
(Photo: Dean Woolley)

By the time the modern day Elite Ice Hockey League came to fruition, the Steelers were one of the most decorated clubs in the United Kingdom; obviously a selling point for anyone willing to hop across the pond. Legue was offered a spot and made the trek to set up shop in Sheffield for the 2007-2008 season. Admittedly he didn’t know what he was getting himself into. “When I came to Sheffield I didn’t know what to expect because to be honest, I didn’t know there was hockey here in the UK.” The naivety was soon lost on Legue as he made his first strides on ice in front of the home crowd at Motorpoint Arena. “I soon realised that they are some of the most passionate fans imaginable.”

Legue spent his entire seven year Elite league career with the Sheffield Steelers; the city and the club made an important impression on him his first season. Half way through the campaign Legue got a phone call that no one wants to take while being the furthest away from his family. His father and ultimately one of his biggest fans had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. The organisation didn’t hesitate to send Legue back to Canada. “Sheffield became a big part of my life during that first year,” recalls Legue.  “I will always be thankful for how they treated me at that time.”

“My father told me to go back and finish season.” What a finish they had. The Steelers ended up winning the playoffs that year. “Captain Jonathan Phillips made it a point to hand me the trophy first.” With no doubt his father smiling down at him, Legue knew he made the right decision. “That was my most memorable moment as a Steeler.”

Of course, the people he met throughout the city of Sheffield and the success on the ice made it easy for Legue to come back year after year. Meeting his beautiful wife nearby and having his adorable son to raise made it the perfect ending to an illustrious Elite league career.

The game of hockey and the city of Sheffield just couldn’t get rid of him though.

(Payette (7) instructs his Legue (11) and his Steeldog squad)
(Payette (7) instructs his Legue (11) and his Steeldog squad. Photo: Roger Williams)

With the EIHL schedule being so demanding with his new family, Legue dropped down a tier to the English Premier Ice Hockey League and is now suiting up for the Steeldogs. Head manned by another Cornwall, Ontario native Andre Payette, Legue is humbled by the fact that there’s another one with him who knows the trials and tribulations of the city he’s from. “It’s always nice to have someone to back up your stories of the beautiful St. Lawrence River.”

Back on the Canadian side, the hockey doesn’t stop in his family at any point. Legue’s brother in law, Brennan Barker, is suiting up for the Cornwall River Kings of the LNAH. Known for its no holds barred fighting, does Legue have any advice? “Other than keep your head up?” he says with a laugh. “Brennan is a tough cookie and he can take care of himself.  I’ve seen his hands.  I wish him and his team all the best and good luck for the rest of the season.”

As Jeff Legue suits up for the Steeldogs, we can only speculate what’s in his future. Who knows, maybe we’ll see his son continue the tradition and end up back in Canada. The saga continues. For now, this remains how a tale of two cities, with an ocean that separates them for miles, became closer to each other with the power of sport.

 

I leave you with a video from the Cornwall River Kings from last year that some of you in the UK made not have seen.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @MarchHockey 

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Judging the 2014-2015 Cornwall River Kings

(Photo: Allison Papineau)
(Photo: Allison Papineau)

The Cornwall River Kings unveiled their 27 man roster recently and there’s been a lot of smoke being blown on social media. I figured why not take a bit of look at who Cornwall has signed for this year’s campaign. As usual, this is going to be an unbiased approach.

First statements that we’re being thrown around on social media was that the Kings didn’t sign enough tough guys. Well, hate to break it to you but enforcers in general are a slowly dying breed; even for the LNAH. With a lack of players to pick from, you’re kind of limited with your choices because most guys have already signed on either in the league or elsewhere. Unless you can promise them better money in a trade, you’re stuck with what you got.

That being said, Lessard and Cloutier are obviously the main ones that are going to drop the gloves but that doesn’t mean nobody else will. You haven’t seen some of these new guys play yet; they could handle their own and then some for all you know. I’m sure quite a few will be willing to drop the gloves if it came down to it. Simoes has dropped them; Joly has dropped them; Lepine has dropped them in Germany; relax a little people.

Fighting is not my concern when it comes to this team. There’s enough firecrackers on the bench to go around. To me, my concern is size. Jonquiere, Sorel and Laval have signed some big boys and they’re going to flex their muscle and push the smaller guys around. That’s hockey though and it’s expected. If you want to get an understanding of what I mean by size just watch any Montreal Canadiens playoff game. There’s a reason why they never make it in today’s NHL, they’re too small.

On the other hand, size can be used to the Kings advantage. Smaller guys move quicker; create openings, stickhandle through the mesh and put pucks to the net. That’s a big problem that was very adequately addressed this time around. Few young guns with speed can equal wins down the stretch.

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(Photo: Allison Papineau)

Goaltending? We have the best goaltender in the league. End of story.

There’s concerns that GM Rick Lalonde is treating this team like a junior squad. Personally, I don’t really see that. He’s doing the best with what he’s got and with what players are made available. Most of you don’t realize how much work is involved in landing players. There’s a lot of phone tag and sleepless nights. Give the man a break.

All in all you can’t criticize this team right now. You’re lucky they’re still in this city. The players know the job they have to do and how badly the fans want them to see winning ways. They’re not stupid; they read what you write on social media. It’s time to give them the benefit of the doubt and wait until you see the product on the ice before giving a fair judgement.

Here’s your 2014-2015 Cornwall River Kings

FORWARDS: J.P. Caron, Chris Cloutier, Nicolas Corbeil, Julien Corriveau, Antony Courcelles, Pierre-Luc Faubert, Julien Houle, Patrick Langlois, Francis Lessard, Dominic McSween, Anthony Mezzagno, Nick Pitsikoulis, Anthony Pittarelli, Steve Simoes

DEFENCE: Doug Andress, Dominic D’Amour, Jonathan Jasper, Mario Joly, Mathieu Leduc, Jason Lepine, Nik Pokulok, Sasha Pokulok, Michael Pregent, Ryan Sullivan, Brennan Barker

GOALTENDERS: Julien Giroux, Pete Karvouniaris, Loic Lacasse

Cornwall’s Brock McBride shines in Champions Hockey League for Villach SV

The majority of you have probably been enjoying the last bits of your summer but hockey is already in full swing over in Europe! The newly minted Champions Hockey League features 44 teams from six different leagues and at least eight different countries all competing for the title of Europe’s best and the pay-day of 1.5 million Euros isn’t bad either.

The 26 founding clubs send off their best every season to compete in the “A” tier. Tier “B” would be two teams from each league who have gained the top regular season title or were the playoff winners who weren’t apart of the founding group of clubs. These leagues include the DEL, Swedish Elite, Finnish Elite, Swiss league, and many others.

The “C” tier would be considered a wild card spot and made up of two to six teams from high European leagues but are not a part of the founding members. This would be your Elite league, and leagues from Denmark, Italy, Norway, France and Slovakia.
BrockMcBride
I’ve managed to catch a couple of games myself and its great hockey and interesting to see how other countries are building their teams.

For those of us from Cornwall, we do have a connection.

Former Cornwall Colt and President of Cornwall’s Own The Ice Hockey training, Brock McBride is suiting up for Villach SV from Austria. Villach has entered the tournament in Group C alongside Sweden’s Frolunda Gotherburg, Switzerland’s Geneve-Servette, and France’s Briancon Diables Rouges. They are currently tied for second with Frolunda by splitting their first two games.

During the first game against Briancon, McBride sealed the win for Villach when he scored with less then three minutes left to go in the third period. McBride who is an essential part of Villach’s first line brought the same intensity to their matchup against Geneve-Servette the following day. Despite losing 4-2, Villach played a close and rough game to counter the Swiss side.

Villach SV has won six national championships with their last one coming in 2006. This is McBride’s second year suiting up for the Austrian club. His hockey career so far has seen him makes stops with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces, Elmira Jackals, South Carolina Stingrays, the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, Houston Aeros, Milwaukee Admirals and a brief tenure with the EIHL’s Belfast Giants before sitting comfortably in Austria.

Stick around Cornwall for updates on Brock’s impressive ride into the inaugural Champions Hockey League season.

Ottawa Senators Chris Phillips and Mark Stone to be in Cornwall, August 19th

Ottawa_Senators.svgCornwall fans of the Ottawa Senators will get a chance to mingle with two players tomorrow as the Senators kick off their new “Hometown Tour” promotion.

CTV Ottawa, TSN 1200, RV Canada and the Senators themselves sponsor this interactive event which will see them stop at various Canadian Tire stores in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. Along with the players themselves, the event will have interactive games and chances to win prizes. Chris Phillips and Mark Stone will be in attendance at the 9th Street location in Cornwall from 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Fans will get a chance to get autographs starting at 6:00.

During the 6pm news hour, CTV News will be highlighting fans and locales in the area. Here’s your chance Sens Army to get your 5 minutes to wish your team the best as they head into training camp.

Earlier in the day, the Hometown Tour will make a stop in Brockville. Times are 1:30 to 5:00 with autographs starting at 3:30.

Other cities being featured on this tour  is Aylmer QC, Gainteau QC, Arnprior, Barrhaven, Hawkesbury, Kingston, Pembroke, Rockland, and  Smith Falls.

Wristbands for the autograph session will be available at each Canadian Tire store at 9:00am on the day of the event. For more information, check out the press release straight from the Senators: “Senators hitting the road for Hometown Tour series”

Cornwall River Kings announce their first nine players and LNAH notes

Photo: Rick Bowen
Photo: Rick Bowen

The wait for the roster of the Cornwall River Kings is slowly coming to an end.

General Manager Rick Lalonde has signed a group of players who is adamantly described as the core of the squad. Coming back for another year are: Nicholas Corbeil, Jean-Phillipe Caron, Doug Andress, Jonathan Jasper, Ryan Sullivan, Pierre-Luc Faubert, Chris Cloutier, Mario Joly and everyone’s favourite goon, Francis Lessard.

Lalonde is also working on bringing back star goaltender Loic Lacasse who is rumored to sign on next week. Two or three more players may be announced as well.

Things are starting to look up for the ill-fated team. The past two years have been nothing but trouble on and off the ice but a surprise by Brock Frost has turned the tide into making this hockey team a viable product. With the addition of the Booster Club and now the Ice Queens, the club will have plenty of ways to attract new fans and sponsors to the rink. Hockey in Cornwall is here to stay.

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In other news around the LNAH, the Trois Rivieres Viking have changed their name to the Cloutier Nord Sud. The sudden name change is due to new ownership. Their team slogan is “100% Three Rivers”. Earlier this summer, the Laval Braves changed their name to the Predateurs.

Former LNAH and NHL player Patrick Cote has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for pleading guilty to a series of bank robberies. That’s definitely a new one in my books.

The Jonquiere Marquis added two players to their 2014/15 roster. Alexandre Comtois comes to the green and gold after a very successful five year career in the QMJHL. Last season he suited up for McGill University collecting 18 points in 25 games. Luis Tremblay has also signed with Jonquiere after a year with Riviere Du Loup. The 31 year old veteran is a helpful addition to the reigning champs although he has yet to achieve his ECHL status from years passed. Fun fact: Tremblay suited up with the Wheeling Nailers alongside Paul Bissonette and Dan Carcillo.

Cornwall River Kings Booster Club to hold Pre-Season bash in Alexandria!

10455304_10152488079245930_4490968349305824540_nThe executive of the Cornwall River Kings Booster Club and the River Kings themselves, invite you and your family for a day of fun filled laughter, music and good eats! Taking place this Saturday at the Giant Tiger in Alexandria, Ontario, the Boosters will be out be in full force between 10am and 3pm to gather up your spirit for the River Kings and their upcoming third LNAH season.

Along with the BBQ, music will be provided by Crazy Dave’s DJ service for your entertainment. Find out how you can help your team and boosters for their campaign; all support is truly appreciated! Who knows, maybe you’ll want to become a Booster volunteer yourself!

Come out and support local professional hockey! You wanted it here; now let’s make it last.

Giant Tiger
595 Main Street South
Alexandria, Ontario
(613)525-2991

 

The Booster Club will also have a booth at Cornwall’s Ribfest which is also taking place this weekend. Don’t be shy! Come up and ask questions; get involved!

The Cornwall River Kings start off their 2014/2015 pre-season with the annual Blue and White game taking place on Sunday, September 7th at the Ed Lumley Arena inside the Cornwall Civic Complex. Puck drop is 7:30. Their first pre-season game will take place on the road in Laval the following Friday, September 19th.

The Laval Predateurs will then make their way to Cornwall on Sunday, September 21 to face the River Kings in their home barn. Fans are expected to fill up the joint to make an intimidating impact for the opponents. Season tickets are sale now at the River Kings box office. Call (613)933-9797

Thoughts on the Cornwall River Kings as the GM resigns

10455304_10152488079245930_4490968349305824540_nI wasn’t going to comment on this but after seeing social media blow up while giving it some thought, I figured I would.

General Manager Mitch Gagne resigned his position last night. If you’ve been following the drama that is the River Kings, I’m sure that comes as no shock. It sure as hell doesn’t to me. While there are plenty of people defending him, and in some ways rightfully so, this is nothing more than a huge blessing in disguise for the team.

You can’t have flaky people on the business side of the game. Yes, he knows a lot of players around the league and was arguably trying his best to get them here. That’s great, being a scout has its own title and merit within the organization. However, if you’re going to bail the minute something doesn’t go your way well, I guess the skin isn’t thick enough. Three strikes you’re out.

I made a comment on the Cornwall River Kings fan page when Brock Frost bought the team. I said to make sure that there were the right hockey minded people in place. Now, I believe he has that.

Frost announced today that Rick Lalonde has come in as the new General Manager with long time Cornwall hockey veteran Al Wagar being his assistant. Here are two guys with enough hockey knowledge to build from. Sure, they may not have had their two cents into the LNAH for very long but they take their jobs seriously and won’t crumble under pressure. They aren’t afraid to get their toes dirty.

Lalonde was rumored to come in as head coach. Those rumors were put to rest with Frost announcing that they are still in the process of electing one which is great news. Lalonde has an extensive career coaching Junior A in Quebec but with all due respect (he is good at it), the LNAH is an entirely different breed of hockey and entertainment all together.

As for the fans and the comments I’ve read. Of course, they’re warranted and you deserve the right to voice your opinion, no one’s telling you not to. Humor me though and take a step back from those comments. Realize that a few months ago we didn’t even have a team. If it wasn’t for Brock Frost, you wouldn’t be making those remarks. GM’s come and go, coaches come and go.

Owners tend to be around for a little while; this one just might.

Fred Page Cup history Part One: who is Fred Page?

(Photo: Mike Carrocetto)
(Photo: Mike Carrocetto)

 

Last season marked the 20th anniversary of the Fred Page Cup, a distinguished trophy given out to the best team of a four team tournament. Making up the tournament quad would be the respective season champions from Ontario’s Central Canada Hockey League, Quebec’s Junior AAA Hockey League, the Maritime’s Junior Hockey League and the team whose city has won hosting capabilities. The winner moves on the Royal Bank Cup, Canada’s national Junior “A” championship.

Most of us who follow junior hockey have heard of the tournament. Some have even taken part in some aspect be it spectator, volunteer or player. Some have read about it in the newspaper. The question is though, do you know how the Fred Page Cup came to be? Do you even know who Fred Page is? Well, grab a cold pop and sit back while Marchy tells you the tale.

Frederick Page was born September 29, 1915 in Port Arthur and at the time, Port Arthur was a city in Northern Ontario. In January of 1970, Port Arthur, the town of Fort William, and a couple of nearby townships, joined forces to become what we know as Thunder Bay.

Fred_pageEven though Page was trapped further north than most, he didn’t let his unique location get in the way of his love for hockey. Furthermore, there was no shortage of the game in the area. Page’s first championship trophy came in 1935 under the wing of the Port Arthur Juniors who claimed the title for the Thunder Bay Amateur Hockey Association. After an early choice to retire from the game as a player in 1939, Page turned his hand to refereeing and coaching. For the next 15 years, he switched back and forth from coaching and referring in the Fort William Minor Hockey Association and refereeing in the aforementioned Thunder Bay league.

His skills as an official caught the eye of national attention. Page received and accepted an invitation to keep control of games in the 1958 Memorial and Allen Cup playoffs.

The 50’s and 60’s got even busier for Page. The early 1960’s saw him make the move out west to British Columbia and turn his focus to the administration part of the game. He was executive staff and sometimes president of various leagues in the area. He also began work nationally with the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association and coordinated Canadian team entries into European tournaments. That job grew into the 1970’s as Page continued to negotiate teams and tournaments between the two continents. It grew so much that Page was elected to represent Canada in the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Page helped organize World Championships and helped grow hockey internationally during the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. He was also the chairman for the hockey competition for the 1972 games in Sapporo, Japan. Back home, Page showed no signs of slowing down as he helped form the Pacific Coast Junior Hockey League in 1973 which eventually merged with the British Columbia Junior Hockey League in 1997 and is now the league that we know today. Their league championship is also named in his honour.

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Fred Page played a pretty important role in our country for not only in development of hockey but in branding and awareness. His contribution throughout the entire country for junior and amateur hockey spans over seven decades. For his monumental efforts, Page was elected in the Hockey Hall of Fame as a honourary member in 1993. Fred Page died in 1997. His selfless efforts to the game we love will never be forgotten. We will keep Page’s memory alive as long as there’s kids playing hockey.

The 2015 Fred Page Cup will take play in Cornwall, Ontario. The Central Canada Hockey League’s Cornwall Colts are eager to hit the ice and represent the host city and keep the Fred Page flame burning.

A look at the 2014 Cornwall River Kings draftees

10455304_10152488079245930_4490968349305824540_nCornwall didn’t make their first selection until the fourth round but that didn’t stop them from acquiring the rights to some dandy play makers. Here’s a bit of an in depth look at who Cornwall selected.

First pick for the River Kings was 23 year old defenseman Mathieu Leduc out of Valleyfield, Quebec. The 6’1 blue liner just finished his third year with the University of Ottawa GeeGee’s where he rounded out 17 points in 28 games. He also had a bit of a major junior stint suiting up for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, Val D’or Foreurs and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Not much of a scorer but a solid piece to any team’s blue line. He uses his height very much to his advantage which is key for the LNAH as we all know there aren’t too many small boys. He’s also not afraid to drop the mitts which is another key factor into bringing him into the LNAH side.

Cornwall’s second pick needs no introduction. Hometown boy Jason Lepine was selected in the fifth round along with Will Colbert from Arnprior, Ontario. Lepine played three years with the Conwall Colts before receiving an offer to turn pro with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays. From there he’s been with almost every professional league in North America. In 2011, he suited up for Jaromir Jagr’s hometown HC Kladno in the Czech Republic. A brief stop in Finland’s SM-liiga, the German Elite League and last season’s ECHL Toledo Walleye has led him home to the LNAH.

Will Colbert is very much like Jason Lepine except he actually got drafted twice into the NHL. Drafted in the 7th round, 228th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2003 and in the 6th round, 183rd overall by the San Jose Sharks in the 2005 entry draft, the massive defenseman decided to focus on his schooling rather then professional hockey. He suited up for the St. Francis Xavier University Xmen throughout his entire collegiate career being a monumental piece of the team. The professional teams took notice and he’s lead a journeyman career similar to Lepine ever since. Colbert finished up last season with 18 points in 37 games for the Tilburg Trappers of the Netherlands national league.

Colbert. (Photo: Micheal Cooper Photography)
Colbert. (Photo: Micheal Cooper Photography)

Picks number four and five came in the seventh round care of Rouyn-Noranda’s Julien Houle and Laval’s Anthony Courcelles. Two youngs forwards with plenty of opportunity to grow. Houle was a scoring machine for the Junior A Vaudreuil-Dorion Mustangs two years ago exceeding a point per game. Courcelles was most of the same as he notched an impressive 114 points in 52 games with the Lachine Maroons. Courcelles comes with a bit more experience however as he produced a point a game last season with HC Nice in France’s Division 2. How these two young kids will adapt to the LNAH style we have yet to see; they’re in for a wild ride.

(Photo: Les Stockton. flickr)
Wray. (Photo: Les Stockton. flickr)

Veteran forward, Ottawa’s Scott Wray came in at pick six and is a bit of shot in the dark as there are rumors of Wray having retired. Nevertheless, if he decides to play, the 34 year old would be a massive addition to the River Kings lineup. Wray has had a solid career spanning over almost 20 years. Starting out in the OHL and finishing last season with the Central league’s Rapid City Rush, Wray has been a very productive member is every squad he’s been with. Although his point total might be on the downslope just a tad, his penalty minutes are always high mostly from engaging in fisticuffs. Wray would be an excellent fit to the River Kings puzzle.

Two 24 year old’s were picks seven and eight. Vince Perreault out of Braeside, Ontario and Billy Ulrick out of Belleville, Ontario. Both are alumni’s of the Central Canada Junior A Hockey League so they have plenty of experience playing out of the Ed Lumley Arena. Perrault has just finished up a exciting collegiate career having captained Westfield State University the past three seasons. A natural leader, Perrault is one who can be intimidating due to his speed one the ice. Ulrick needs little to no introduction as he has played the past four seasons with the Cornwall Colts. He was a key piece to Cornwall’s CCHL title win in 2013.

Last but certainly not least, Cornwall’s last pick came in the form of another hometown native, goaltender Nick Filion. Filion won the 2006 CJHL Rookie of the Year with the Cornwall Colts and has an FHL championship under his belt with the Akwesasne Warriors. He also played nine games for Ohio State University before returning back to Canada. Filion is a solid goaltender with a strength on his glove side. Good pickup to have behind Loic Lacasse.

Roar of the King: Cornwall shows off new logo post draft

10455304_10152488079245930_4490968349305824540_nThe Cornwall River Kings are moving forward into the Brock Frost era in a big way. Debuting a new logo on social media after the 2014 LNAH draft signifies the end of the old and the beginning of a new and what one hopes a very lengthy stay in the Cornwall region. As the city of Cornwall prepares to tear down its iconic freestanding Seaway bridge in the next couple of years, it was only fitting to remodel the teams main logo. I for one, hope that the bridge logo remains in some capacity as a shoulder patch or even an anniversary patch in years to come. This new logo signifies something else.

The future.

Gone is what we hope are the financial woes that have plagued the team for the past two seasons. Last season’s ownership, management and players should be commended for the sacrifice they gave to keep hockey in our community. Mentioned in a press conference last night, former head coach Rick Lalonde stated that many of the teams personnel (including himself and famed Cornwall hockey icon Al Wagar), went without a pay cheque for much of the season. Not only that, the players played the post season for no money. The fans need to show their thanks in many ways this year, not only to Brock Frost the teams saviour, but to the rest of club. Thank them not only with your words but by buying season tickets, game programs, merchandise. Help this team survive with hopes that one day, your kids will be able to see hockey in Cornwall.

A lion signifies the “King”. That is just what this is team is. This team is a group of warriors who live to fight be it in the jungle, on the river, on the plains, or on the ice another day.

Cornwall made a huge impact earlier this week when they reacquired defenseman and fan favourite Mario Joly from the Laval Predators. (They too have since made a change in their name to move forward, dropping the Braves moniker.) Sent to Laval were Jean-Francois Laplante, Nicholas Siguoin and a 5th round pick. Also in the draft, the River Kings reacquired sharpshooter Anthony Pitarelli who was traded last fall. Two big moves are positive signs that the club are moving in the right direction to be competitive in time for pre-season.

The Cornwall River Kings 2014 draft list is as follows:

Round 4: Mathieu Leduc, D, 23, Valleyfield, QC, 6’1″ 200 lbs.
Round 5: Jason Lepine, D, 29, Cornwall, ON, 6′ 185 lbs.
Round 5: Will Colbert, D, 29, Arnprior, ON, 6’2″ 220 lbs.
Round 7: Julien Houle, LW, 22, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, 5’9″ 180 lbs.
Round 7: Anthony Courcelles, RW, 22, Laval, QC, 6’1″ 186 lbs.
Round 8: Scott Wray, LW, 34, Ottawa, ON, 5’11” 190 lbs.
Round 9: Vince Perreault, C, 24, Braeside, ON, 5’11” 192 lbs.
Round 10: Billy Ulrick, C, 24, Belleville, ON, 5’7″ 177 lbs.
Round 10: Nick Fillion, G, 25, Cornwall, ON, 5’11” 178 lbs

Later this week, I’ll go into the picks a bit further to welcome them into the craziness that is Cornwall hockey. Watch the first part of Cornwall’s press conference introducing the new owner and management team: