New head coach named for junior B Glens in preparation for 2020-21 CCHL2 season

The Alexandria Glens of the CCHL2 have a new head coach, and his name is a familiar one in local hockey circles, as Carl Robillard has been named to the post to guide North Glengarry’s junior ‘B’ hockey team into the 2020-21 season.

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Carl Robillard

The Wendover resident has an extensive coaching background at the top level of minor hockey.

As Robillard puts it, “I actually know many of the players on the current roster and others who will compete for roster spots on this team.”

The new bench boss notes, “Although there are definite changes on the horizon, I know there is potential for this group of young men. We expect to ice a young team with a sprinkle of key veterans to help lead the way. Our goal is to make the playoffs this coming season while establishing a reputation within the league as being a very hard team to play against every single night. This is a staple of my teams from the past and this team will be no different.”

On what he predicts for fans, Robillard says, “We will bring a mix of skill, speed, and compete in all phases of the game. Once we build our young core, we expect to compete for a championship for years to come. That is our ultimate goal once the puck drops to start our season.”

In announcing the new head coach of the Glens, general manager Derick Viau described the 50-year-old Robillard as “a bright coach and great leader who has a track record of both effectively developing young players and successfully motivating veterans.” He added, “We love his coaching resume and are confident that he has learned from every stop during his career, and has the best skill set to get the maximum potential out of our team.”

Viau was my guest for the inaugural edition of the sportsguysean podcast:

Note, this podcast episode can be found on various hosting services, including Spotify and Breaker. Current and prospective members of the Glens can leave me a voice message on Anchor, and the clip may find its way into a future episode of the sportsguysean podcast. Be sure to follow the sportsguysean podcast on your favourite app or platform.

In addition to taking the helm of the junior ‘B’ Glens, Robillard will serve as head coach of the Eastern Ontario Wild major bantam ‘AAA’ team during the 2020-21 this season.

Viau notes that his new bench boss “has over 12 years of coaching experience” and “his coaching philosophy is pretty simple… [building] around these three basic principles: TEAM FIRST, HARD WORK, and DISCIPLINE.”

The general manager, who’s entering his second year in that capacity with Alexandria’s CCLHL2 hockey club, says, “In order to achieve these principals, Carl strives to build an environment that encourages players to learn and develop on and off the ice, while creating a positive learning atmosphere in both good and hard times. All players need to be given the opportunity to develop their skills in a structured and disciplined learning environment that constantly challenges them while providing encouragement and support. He firmly believes that, when dealing with highly motivated and committed athletes, strong communication skills in both a group and/or an individual setting is the cornerstone of any coach’s responsibility.”

Robillard’s coaching resume includes…

  • 2014-15 regular-season championship with major peewee ‘AAA’
  • 2014-15 playoff championship major peewee ‘AAA’
  • 2014-15 provincial silver medal
  • 2014-15 OEMHL ‘AAA’ Coach of the Year
  • 2015-16 regular-season championship minor bantam ‘AAA’
  • 2015-16 playoff championship minor bantam ‘AAA’
  • 2015-16 Toronto Marlies Holiday Classic ‘AAA’ Championship
  • 2017-18 TELUS Cup Central Region Midget ‘AAA’
  • 2018 OHL drafted players: 10 from the Eastern Ontario Wild and 6 from the Hawkesbury Hawks

The new Glens head coach recently connected with some of his players by way of video conference.

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Players and staff connecting via video conference. (CCHL2 Glens photo)

For more background on the Alexandria Glens, please see my earlier post wrapping up last season.

Prior to the announcement of Robillard taking the team’s coaching reins, the Glens announced that last year’s head coach, Marc Rousseau, would not be returning. “We thank him for his time served with us [and wish him] best of luck in future endeavours.”

The Glens also parted ways with their assistant coaches, Marco Pozzebon and Stephane Ouellette.

Training Camp

Subject to Hockey Canada rules regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alexandria CCHL2 Glens have scheduled their 2020 training camp for the Glengarry Sports Palace, beginning August 22.

Players ages 16 through 20 are invited to register online. More information is available on this webpage.

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Off-ice season continues for EOSHL clubs

It may be the off-season, but the business of hockey continues for the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League, albeit a little differently than in a normal year where we aren’t contending with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league earlier this month held its expansion draft for three new entrants: the Glengarry Pipers (Alexandria), the Frontenac Phantoms, and the Smiths Falls Rideaus.

That was followed up by the EOSHL 2020 draft involving all seven clubs.

And then the teams got busy with trades and player signings. And it isn’t even June yet!

EOSHL news

The 2020 EOSHL Draft

The list below shows the team picking (in order) and the player selected, along with his last team, position, and hometown.

Round 1 Selections

  1. SMITHS FALLS RIDEAUS: Eric Witzel (Southern Professional Hockey League Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs, forward, Ottawa)
  2. GLENGARRY PIPERS from Maxville: Julien Demers (U-Sports University of Ottawa, defence, Ottawa)
  3. FRONTENAC PHANTOMS: Cameron Brown (NCJHL North Dundas Rockets, defence, Brockville)
  4. MAXVILLE MUSTANGS: Brian Lovell (LHSAAAQ Bisons de Granby, defence, Chateauguay)
  5. DESERONTO BULLDOGS from Maxville: Joel Hunt (NCJHL North Dundas Rockets, forward, Embrun)
  6. CORNWALL PROWLERS: Jody Sullivan (NCAA Oswego Lakers, forward, Cardinal)
  7. WEST CARLETON RIVERMEN from Cornwall: Jared Fenlong (NCJHL South Grenville Rangers, defence, Brockville)

Round 2 Selections

  1. SMITHS FALLS RIDEAUS: Carmine Guerriero (Brest in France 2 league, goaltender, Longueuil)
  2. GLENGARRY PIPERS: Miguel Poissant (LHSR Waterloo Maroons, forward, Montreal)
  3. FRONTENAC PHANTOMS: Michael Anson (CCHL2 Westport Rideaus, forward, Westport)
  4. MAXVILLE MUSTANGS: Max Choquette (CCHL2 Casselman Vikings, forward, St. Isidore)
  5. DESERONTO BULLDOGS: Brody Morris (U-Sports Nipissing University, defence, Corbyville)
  6. CORNWALL PROWLERS: Marc-Antoine Desnoyers (LHSR St. Gabriel Loups, defence, St. Jerome)
  7. WEST CARLETON RIVERMEN from Maxville: Tristan Whynot (CCHL2 Embrun Panthers, defence, Russell)

Round 3 Selections

  1. SMITHS FALLS RIDEAUS from Cornwall: Logan Lefebvre (NCJHL Clarence Creek Castors, defence, Ottawa)
  2. GLENGARRY PIPERS: Jakob Brunette (NCJHL St. Isidore Aigles, forward, Valleyfield)
  3. FRONTENAC PHANTOMS from Deseronto: Cody Smith (PJCHL Amherstview Jets, forward, Kingston)
  4. MAXVILLE MUSTANGS: Jimmy Paradis (LHSAAAQ Windsor Wild, forward, St. Jerome)
  5. DESERONTO BULLDOGS: Brodie Maracle (PJCHL Napanee Raiders, forward, Deseronto)
  6. CORNWALL PROWLERS from Maxville: Warren Steele (U-Sports Queens University, defence, Williamsburg)
  7. WEST CARLETON RIVERMEN from Maxville: Rod Archer (WOAA Elora Rocks, defence, Apple Hill)

Round 4 Selections

  1. SMITHS FALLS RIDEAUS from WEST CARLETON: Alex Beaudry (NCAA Providence College, goaltender, Cumberland)
  2. GLENGARRY PIPERS: Kevin Howson (NCJHL St. Isidore Eagles, forward, St. Lazare)
  3. FRONTENAC PHANTOMS: Jason Lesage (ACHL Norwood Vipers, goaltender, Belleville)
  4. MAXVILLE MUSTANGS: Cedric Harvey (LHSR Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan Houston, forward, Repetigny)
  5. DESERONTO BULLDOGS Liam Hunter (NCAA Utica College, defence, Norwood)
  6. CORNWALL PROWLERS from Smiths Falls: Michael McKenney (CCHL Smith Falls Bears, forward, Smith Falls)
  7. WEST CARLETON RIVERMEN: Brandon Cole (Kanata Blazers, defence, Kanata)
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Minor soccer officially cancelled by the GSL

It’s now official: there will be no minor soccer season this year in the Glengarry Soccer League, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sport’s governing body had been extending no-play orders month-by-month, with the latest restricting activity through the end of June.

At the time of that announcement on May 11, the GSL stated that it would convene its board and committee members to explore options. Yesterday, the league announced there would be no minor soccer for the 2020 season.

“The Glengarry Soccer League has made the difficult decision to cancel the Outdoor 2020 season for the MINOR division. An email will be sent out to all participants with information regarding refunds. At this time, a decision has not been made for the Senior and Tier 2 divisions.”

GSL announcement, May 24

Matthew Houlzet, who serves at the GSL referee assignor and GSL minor referee-in-chief and works as a soccer official himself, tells me that the league is still hoping that there will be adult soccer in some form, though the schedule will have to be adjusted and/or compressed.

Typically, senior soccer begins in the latter stages of May, concluding in August. At best, this year, play could begin in July, unless Ontario Soccer extends the prohibition on play through that month.

The GSL will be looking at various schedule options that could see play (if it happens at all) extend into the fall, perhaps as late as October.

The only certainty at this point is that there will be no youth matches in the Glengarry Soccer League this summer.

In terms of other area leagues, today the Cornwall-based Seaway Valley Soccer Club announced the cancellation of its house league and Coyotes (semi-competitive, all-star program) seasons.

“Due in part to the closure of facilities, the uncertainty of distancing orders surrounding recreational programming, the amount of time it would take to properly organize a recreational soccer program, SVSC must in the best interest of all, unfortunately, cancel its House League and Coyotes programs for spring/summer 2020. It should be noted that this decision did not come lightly, but the safety for all is the most important to the club and we appreciate the patience from parents, players, coaches, and officials.

Should the situation change with current conditions of COVID-19, SVSC will be looking at other options to provide possible soccer training activities once it is deemed safe to do so.”

Seaway Valley Soccer Club statement, May 25

At this time, the East Region Soccer League, the top competitive youth loop in this area, continues to explore options for a 2020 season. The GSL via Glengarry Hearts and the SVSC through its Cornwall Blazers teams participate in this league.

The ERSL has not cancelled play for this summer, but has suspended all in-person activities per direction from Ontario Soccer. Updates on modifications to rules and potential play can be followed on their website here.

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Racing to return to Cornwall Motor Speedway in June, without spectators

Originally scheduled to begin last Sunday, the green flag is now set to fly on the 2020 season at the Cornwall Motor Speedway on June 6, though the event will be for drivers and race teams only. No spectators will be permitted.

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All of this, of course, is due to ongoing health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Speedway and stock car drivers have been impacted, just as other sports and events have.

The June 6 event, billed as “Back To The Track 50” will run on Saturday, June 6, with 50 laps for both Modified and Sportsman classes. Due to current Ontario government guidelines, no spectators will be permitted to attend. Race fans can take in the action online, via the 360nitro.tv platform (purchase required).

Strict rules will be enforced for race teams, which will be limited in number to the driver and four support members. Up to 30 cars will take to the track in each of the two scheduled events.

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2020 edition of Williamstown Fair cancelled due to COVID-19

As the stream of COVID-19-related cancellations has mounted this year, it seemed inevitable that the county’s second-largest summer event (after the Glengarry Highland Games) would be disrupted, and this week the news became official: there will be no Williamstown Fair in 2020, at least not this summer.

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The official statement began, “With great regret, the St. Lawrence Valley Agricultural Society, organizer of Canada’s oldest annual fair, announces the postponement of the traditional 209th edition of the Williamstown Fair (August 7-8-9, 2020) due to the ongoing pandemic.”

The Maxville Fair, scheduled for late June, was cancelled back in April (see my story about this here), and the Glengarry Highland Games, the county’s biggest summer celebration, was nixed last month (story here).

Despite the slight relaxing of government and health regulations recently, conditions remain as such that the holding of large events this summer simply won’t be possible.

“In light of directives from the government and public health officials, we have taken this difficult decision. Our top priority is ensuring the health and safety of our volunteers, community partners, and fairgoers, and we thank the public for their understanding and support.”

Michael Seguin, president of the St. Lawrence Valley Agricultural Society

The Williamstown Fair is Glengarry County’s annual celebration of agriculture and more, with a number of sports events featured over the course of the three-day gathering. Among these over the years have been competitions of tug of war, Highland Games, beach volleyball, and farmer olympics. The Great Raisin River Footrace has also been associated with the Fair each summer, too, though a few years back its route was adjusted to remain on the south side of the river, using the Sir John Johnson Manor House as its base.

On the 2020 Fair, at this point, organizers are deeming the action a “postponement.” The statement notes that “the Fair Board is committed to celebrating the community and its agricultural heritage and will be looking at ways of holding an alternative fair later this year.”

“Generations of dedicated volunteers work tirelessly to organize this beloved annual event and the current situation is only one of the many challenges the Fair has faced since its inception in 1812.”

St. Lawrence Valley Agricultural Society

At this time, a final decision on holding the Great Raisin River Footrace has not yet been made. The organizers, Beyond 21, have stated that an official announcement will come in early June.

On April 5, the committee announced, “With the continued uncertainty of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to suspend registration for the 2020 Great Raisin River Footrace.” However, the race was and has not been cancelled, at least not yet. Officially, the run is slated for Sunday, August 9. This year will mark its 42nd edition.

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Area golf courses set to tee-off season this weekend

In time for the May long weekend, the Ontario government has relaxed some COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, allowing golf courses to partially open, effective May 16.

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The Ford government announcement of so-called stage one openings can be read in its entirety here.

Specific to the province’s golf courses, the document stipulates, “Golf courses and outdoor golf driving ranges are open to the public [as of May 16]. Any clubhouse or recreational amenity (pools, fitness centres, etc.) must remain closed except for washrooms and first aid facilities. Restaurants on the premises may provide food by take out or delivery.”

Alexandria’s Glengarry Golf and Country Club will be one of the local facilities opening Saturday.

In an announcement posted online, the club outlined its operational adjustments in light of ongoing pandemic concerns, with the aim of ensuring “the safety of our customers and our employees. Your support and co-operation are appreciated as we all fight together against COVID-19.”

The GG&CC’s 2020 COVID-19 practices include…

  • Stringent enforcement of social distancing at all times.
  • Tee times to be booked online through the website or by calling the pro shop (613-525-2912). No walk-on golfers.
  • Tee time spacing extended to 12 minutes.
  • Golfers are encouraged to arrive at the course about 15 minutes prior to the pre-booked tee time.
  • The driving range and putting greens will be closed.
  • Debit and credit transactions only. No cash payments.
  • Products for sale (balls, tees, gloves) will be display-only. Purchasers will make their request to pro shop staff who will bring purchased items to the counter.
  • Maximum of four people per group.
  • One person per cart unless in the same household; then a cart can be shared.
  • All carts will be sanitized prior to the next use.
  • Walking is encouraged whenever possible.
  • Rental and personal pushcarts only.
  • No golf club rentals will be available.
  • No storage of clubs, carts, or clothing until further notice.
  • No rakes, ball washers, garbage cans, divot repair boxes, and benches will be on the course.
  • Flagsticks are not to be removed. Noodle pieces will be placed in pin cups to allow safe retrieval of balls at the pin.
  • There will be no washrooms available on the course, in the clubhouse, or at the pro shop.
  • Only the outer clubhouse washrooms will be open, Facilities will be regularly cleaned.
  • Coffee, canned beverages, and snacks will be available at the pro shop counter.
  • Golfers will not be permitted to engage in pre- and post-game gatherings.

“I think I can speak for every golfer when I say I have been very eager to get back out on the course. It’s a great way to get out of the house but still be able to maintain safe social distancing for everybody, so I think this is a great move by the government! People will love to get some physical activity this long weekend.”

Ben Lowe

The golf club adds, “We believe our course is in great shape, and [we] look forward to seeing many of our golfing friends again over the upcoming days.”

Summerheights Golf Links will also open to golfers on Saturday. Staff began taking tee times today online and by phone with demand so great at one point that the computer system crashed.

Many of the same rules will be enforced at Summerheights as well. Here are their informational posters. (Click for full-size versions.)

Bookings and further information: 613-938-8009 or summerheightsgolf.com

At the Heritage Golf Club in Lancaster, physical distancing rules and other safety measures will also be in place. The facility’s updated play policy can be viewed here. Tee times must be pre-booked by calling the club at 613-347-3738.

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Rylee Leger receives MVP award for contribution to Algonquin College volleyball

Alexandria’s Rylee Leger has been recognized with an athletics award from Algonquin College in Ottawa, named most valuable player of the women’s volleyball team

Graduating this spring from the Bachelor for Early Learning and Community Development Program, Leger was captain of the Thunder volleyball team for the 2019-20 season. She led the East Division in scoring and was second overall in the league.

The 6 ft. 2 in. athlete who plays the right side of the court is a graduate of Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School where she excelled in numerous sports, including soccer. In her graduating year (2016), Leger captured school athletics awards for volleyball and basketball. She was also recognized as the Senior Female Athlete of the Year.

She was also honoured that summer by the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame as one of 15 athletes invited to be celebrated at the annual induction dinner and ceremony.

On her time at Algonquin College, Leger says the MVP award was “a really great way to finish my college volleyball career.”

“It’s pretty amazing and quite an honour to have won Most Valuable Player, [be] East Scoring champ, [be named a] 1st team all-star, and to finish second overall in points for all of the OCAA in my last year”

Rylee Leger on her final season of collegiate volleyball

Her now-former head coach, Everton Senior, noted, “Not many in the OCAA can match the dominance of Rylee. We will have a major hole to fill with her departure.”

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Rylee Leger

The Glengarrian adds, “I’m gonna miss it a lot that’s for sure, but it’s time for a new chapter.”

The Thunder had a 15-3 record over the course of the 2019-20 campaign, finishing second in the OCAA East Division. In the playoff opener, the Thunder prevailed over the Redeemer Royals, from Hamilton, 3 sets to 1 (25-11, 25-23, 21-25, 28-26) to earn a berth at the championship tournament, in North Bay.

There, the Algonquin ladies were felled in their opener, losing in straight sets (25-15, 25-12, 25-11) to St. Clair College, ending the season for the Thunder. St. Clair ended up taking bronze at the tournament, while Fanshawe claimed gold over Humber in the title match.

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Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame reveals 2020 inductees, postpones ceremony

The 2020 inductees to the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame have been revealed, but along with the announcement came news that this year’s annual gathering to celebrate the new inductees has been postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The board of the hall of fame extends congratulations to the 2020 inductees:

  • Barb Benton (Apple Hill: sports organizer, ball hockey, broomball)
  • Glen Campbell (Glen Nevis: sports organizer, coach, soccer, hockey)
  • Heather MacLeod (Maxville: Highland dance)
  • Michael Robertson (Williamstown, track athlete)
  • Corey Van Loon (Martintown, sports organizer, canoeist, Raisin River Canoe Race)

Typically, members of the hall, along with inductees, family members, supporters, past inductees, and honoured graduating high school athletes gather for a celebration each August. The location rotates amongst the county’s three arena, with festivities held on the arena floor. Last year, the event was held in Williamstown, at the Char-Lan Rec. Centre, with the 2020 edition (the 41st annual) scheduled for Maxville’s arena.

However, “due to COVID-19, The Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame’s 2020 Induction Night has been postponed to Wednesday, August 18, 2021, in Maxville. Mark your calendars!”

New Website Address and Hall Visits for 2020

The Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame website address has changed slightly, with the website now available at glengarrysports.ca (formerly .com).

The website is chock full of stories on past inductees, since the facility, located in Maxville, was established in 1979.

Traditionally, the hall building opens after the long weekend in May, welcoming visitors through to Labour Day. The board of the hall of fame expects they will have a summer student hosting guests once again this year.

The hall building is located at 35 Fair Street, adjacent to the arena in Maxville.

Stay tuned for an official announcement on this year’s opening.

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It’s official: no local soccer until at least July

The official word came down today from the province’s governing body of the beautiful game, as Ontario Soccer announced the continued suspension of all “in-person soccer events and activities” through to the end of June.

Locally, this affects the Glengarry Soccer League, Char-Lan Minor Soccer, as well as programs in Cornwall.

For its part, the GSL says it “will update our community on the status of our outdoor season after the GSL committee members meet to discuss.”

Typically, play would kick off in late May, with some divisions concluding by early August and others as late as mid-September. While a July-August season is not beyond the realm of possibilities (assuming that it would be permitted by Ontario Soccer), it would bring challenges, such as the impact of a compressed schedule, especially on divisions that include university-aged players who normally leave the region by late August.

Ontario Soccer

From the OSA announcement:

” Ontario Soccer, in consultation with Canada Soccer and governmental advisors, continues to monitor the most recent developments surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and are assessing operations and deciding cancellations and postponements on a month-to-month basis as the pandemic continues to unfold.

As a follow-up to the Ontario Soccer and Canada Soccer announcements of March 12 and March 13, as well as the Ontario Soccer announcements of March 24 and April 7, Ontario Soccer is announcing today that all sanctioned in-person soccer events and activities for the month of June have been cancelled or postponed.

This decision will affect the start of the early portion of the 2020 Outdoor Season for Local, Regional, District, Provincial, OASL, OPDL, and all other leagues across Ontario.”

Ontario Soccer statement, May 11

The statement adds, “For those who may be concerned about registering for the abridged outdoor season, Ontario Soccer is encouraging participants to do so now, so that Districts, Leagues, Clubs, and Academies can be fully prepared to kick off the Return to Play season when announced.”

To date, this is what our region’s clubs have been doing.

As well, the OSA encourages interested individuals to pursue online training for coaching or officiating matches, as these services continue. Ontario Soccer has also launched online information regarding the Game Leader program to promote the grassroots of the game. A good way to stay up-to-date is via the OSA’s Facebook page.

Canada Soccer has initiated a program called Canada Soccer Nation Inside. The website includes information and resources, fun activities for the kids, downloadable images, and links to various coaching and training sessions, as well as online webinars.

One item that caught my attention is the Referee’s Home Workout guide. (direct link to PDF download)

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In Williamstown, the township’s Char-Lan Minor Soccer program usually concludes in late July, prior to the long weekend and the Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville (which have been cancelled this year).

The association’s referee-in-chief, Nigel Carlisle in commenting on the status of this season commented in the CLMSA group, “At the moment, soccer has not been cancelled. Soccer will be postponed until we get the all clear from the government.”

Meanwhile, the Chadsey family, which has been very active in Glengarry soccer for many years, recently celebrated Bob’s birthday. One of his daughters, Navy, painted a watercolour for him, highlighting the family’s passion for the beautiful game, which includes a home-made soccer net on their property.

As Navy describes the painting, “The idea behind is it’s me and my siblings on my parents’ front lawn in our Laggan soccer jerseys. We all played for Laggan when we were young, and my dad coached all of our teams. It’s a watercolour painting with some black ink. It’s not from a photo that exists, just came from a sentimental idea!”

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Artwork painted by Navy Chadsey and the inspiration for the watercolour
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