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.

(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


Jonquiere Marquis gunning for LNAH three-peat

The Jonquiere Marquis have wasted no time in putting together the pieces that could very well become a third straight championship; something that has not been done in LNAH league history. After two years of consistent attack on the ice, the Marquis and Coach Dean are shaping up to continue that reputation that is following them.



At the beginning of the summer, Jonquiere announced a couple of what some say odd signings. The original “sheriff” Sean McMorrow will be suiting up for the big green in the league that he is not a stranger too. After spending two years with St. Hyacinthe, McMorrow headed across the pond and donned the teal and red of the Elite league’s Belfast Giants. He managed 201 penalty minutes in 25 games. At 6’4 and over 200 pounds, McMorrow will be a rock on the ice.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Back on his home continent, McMorrow was charged with smuggling marijuana into the U.S. after being stopped at the Niagara Falls border in 2012. Canadian border guards seized $27,000 in cash and a hockey bag full of marijuana. This will be McMorrow’s first return to the ice after spending close to two years in an American prison. What a moment it would be for McMorrow to capture and be a part of a Marquis three-peat.

Returning to the ice alongside Gaby Roch, captain Bruno St. Jacques and Hugo Carpentier is the feisty madness of Alex Penner. Penner had himself a hell of a tangle in Cornwall last season, climbing the bench into the stands after some unruly fans got the better of him. Always entertaining to watch, Penner is a key fit to this Marquis squad and he’s definitely in a strong mode.

Right winger Patrick Bernier is set to come to training camp this fall. An alumnus of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes, Bernier held his own throughout the last half of the season and into the playoffs. Joining him on his return is defenseman Mike Novosad. Novosad is a towering six feet on the blue line with one bullet of a point shot.

The Marquis know how to build a team from year to year. With the right pieces building on the same model, we might see LNAH history this season.


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.


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


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.

Missing Link: The Legacy of Link Gaetz

4873-33FrIn anticipation of the LNAH’s 19th season, I think it’s time to take a look at some of the reasons why people in the hockey world constantly talk about this league. The LNAH’s legacy lays in its hockey fights and no holds barred attitude towards them. While some do not like the audacity of fights happening for no reason, it’s no shock to see why people do. Everyone loves a good hockey scrap, even if it happens at the opening faceoff. It’s no secret that teams pay players just for their fists. A star fighter signing with your team could guarantee a money pile with tickets sold.

The LNAH turned pro in 2004 after operating for 8 years as a senior semi pro league in Quebec. Its reputation quickly rose as the toughest league in the world and for its lack of skill level. Thankfully, its skill level his risen quite a bit and earned itself some credibility, complete with NHL stars suiting up during lockout years.

One of the league’s craziest enforcers came in the form of a guy named Link Gaetz. Kids, ask your parents, uncles, grandparents, mailmen, pizza delivery guy, and I’m sure each one of them can recite a crazy story (on or off the ice) about Gaetz himself. Of course, some would come in the form of drinking stories as Gaetz could down the alcohol like it was going out of style. Search for him on google and words that come up include the word psycho. Whether the story was true or not, his reputation as the meanest and most insane hockey player to ever lace them up is solidified.

Gaetz grew up in the west coast of Canada, enforcing his way through teams in the WHL and IHL. After being drafted 40th overall in the 2nd round of the 1988 NHL entry draft, the Minnesota North Stars took a chance on Gaetz to have him for protection on their star players, more specifically, a guy named Mike Modano. Legend has it that Gaetz was in a bar fight the night before and showed up to the draft with two big, swollen black eyes. This is just the tip of the iceberg of stories that follow Gaetz around like the plague.

His stint in the NHL came in the form of two teams. The aforementioned North Stars and in 1991 when the San Jose Sharks took him in the expansion draft. His list of opponents on his fight card is not only endless but impressive: Joey Kocur, Kris King, Randy McKay, Warren Rychel, Bob Probert, Kelly Buchberger, Mike Peluso, Gino Odjick, I could go on. He managed 412 PIMS in 65 games while in the NHL. If you’re keeping score, that’s not even a full season.

In one of his more known stories, Gaetz’s NHL career came to a screeching halt (no pun intended) in 1992. Driving with a friend who was under the influence, Gaetz was thrown from the passenger seat after losing control on an off-ramp. He ended up with many facial and back injuries and a paralyzed left side after the injuries moved up to his brain stem. He was lucky to be alive.

Any other person would probably take that as a wake up to how your life was playing out. However, we’re talking about Link Gaetz. He’s an entirely different personality. That fall he was arrested and convicted for his own DUI. Gaetz was traded to the Oilers soon after but never stepped on NHL ice again.

Gaetz’s legend might come more alive in stints with the various minor leagues he was in. Hell, the lineup of cities he played for looked like a KISS comeback tour: Mexico City (Mexico), Madison (Wisconsin), Toledo (Ohio), Anchorage (Alaska), and more. In San Antonio, he was kicked out of the Central Hockey League for life for trying to saw off the arm of Dallas’ Frank LaScala. In the LNAH though, is where he gained icon status.

Gaetz played for seven seasons over 6 teams. He even managed to contribute on the score sheet for the Riviere-du-Loup Promutuel in the 2002 playoffs. One of his better fights came in the form of a bout and maybe rivalry with another LNAH heavyweight, Patrick Cote.

Upon watching that you might say to yourself “Jesus, why didn’t the linesmen break it up earlier?!” Well son, this is the LNAH. The rules are different. You try telling a guy who has beaten up a miner in Quebec and left his face dismembered or shot out the stain glassed windows of a church without a gun permit while hammered. There’s just something not right.

(Photo: LNAH)
(Photo: LNAH)


Gaetz’s antics have spoiled over to the penalty box where he’d be eating hot dogs, to running up into the crowd, to numerous bar fights and brawls after the game. Like I said, everybody has an “I heard Link did this…” story. It’s up to you to figure out what is true or not. The crazier they are, the truer they become.

Gaetz has retired from the game and has been since 2010. Hasn’t stopped him from creating more urban legends however. As of February of this year, Mounties on the west coast are out for him. A warrant for his arrest was put out by a provincial judge in Kamloops, B.C. for his failed court appearance. In 2012, Gaetz was charged with assault and causing a disturbance.
Link Gaetz will always be considered a legend in the hockey world. It may not be for the same reasons as most but there is no doubt that he one of the best personalities the game has ever seen. The game was a different monster in the early 90’s and it fueled a different breed of player. Gaetz may not remember most of the tangles and scraps he’s been in but his fans won’t ever let him forget.

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:

LNAH gears up for 2014 entry draft

lnahWith what has been quite a dramatic off-season so far for the Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey, the league is getting settled for its 2014-2015 entry draft taking place on June 14th. Three clubs that were on the brink of being folded, the Riviere Du Loup 3L, St. Georges COOL FM, and the Cornwall River Kings will have their hands full as they prepare with only a few days to scout out some players after being saved earlier in the week.

Taking place at the Colisee Cardin in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, the home of the Eperviers, the draft will consist of 10 rounds of 8 picks each. The defending champs, the Jonquiere Marquis have three picks in the first round that will no doubt be used to their advantage. Cornwall won’t be in the mix until the second round with the second pick and tenth overall.

Among the players that Cornwall drafted the rights to last year were two goaltenders, sharpshooter Jonathan Zion (who ended up heading over to the Netherlands to play) and Brett Angel who ended up being traded mid-way through the season to Laval. A couple players who suited up in the CCHL, Chris Ayotte and Mike Byrd were also among the 10.

All teams will be looking to make an impact at the draft. Needing to shake off the drama that has already preceded the 2014-2015 season, the LNAH wants to start the campaign on the right foot. Here’s the list of who has the first ten picks:

1. Jonquiere (from Laval)
2. Trois-Rivieres (from Cornwall)
3. St. Georges
4. Riviere Du Loup
5. Thetford Mines
6. Jonquiere (from Sorel-Tracy)
8. Trois Rivieres

The Laval Braves and Cornwall River Kings have their first pick in the second round.

BOW DOWN TO THE KINGS: River Kings to stay in Cornwall

Time to make some noise Cornwall!

Photo: Rick Bowen
Photo: Rick Bowen

The hockey gods that are the LNAH board of governors have decided to give the River Kings back where it belongs; to the city of Cornwall.

Local businessman, real estate agent and now owner of the Cornwall River Kings, Brock Frost had made a successful pitch to the powers that be of the league. The secret was kept under wraps for a number of weeks. David Small and his partnership had given the team back to the league at the end of May and it was all in the league’s hands.

This won’t be an easy task. With little to no advertising being used inside the rink due to a lopsided deal between the Junior A. Cornwall Colts and the City of Cornwall, Frost and the River Kings will have their work cut out for them. However, the word of mouth is a powerful thing.

At the beginning of last season there was talk of the fans starting up a Booster Club. I can not stress how important this club will be to the team once it gets going. This has the oppourtunity to generate a secondary income for the team. Teams in the UK have paid their entire teams roster when struggling through tough financial times. Let’s be smart Cornwall and make sure our team never ends up this way again.

Kudos to Councilor Brock Frost (Yeah, he’s running for council but I’m going to call it now and say he’s earned a spot at the round table), and whoever helped him along his way to keep the blue, red and white of the River Kings on course. The real work starts now.

That means you, reading this. YOU need to come out to the games. YOU need to buy merchandise. YOU need to GET INVOLVED. Let’s make sure this upcoming season is one we’ll never forget.

Who’s house? Our house.