New Alexandria-based team joins EOSHL as part of 2020 expansion

Heading into the second season of the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League, we now know that the region’s senior ‘A’ hockey loop will feature two new franchises, one of them based in Alexandria.

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Pipers jersey mock-up

The Glengarry Pipers, as the club will be known, are owned by Ryan McLeod. Jamie Lavigne will serve as general manager and coach. Last season, he was an assistant coach with the championship-winning Cornwall Prowlers.

The Pipers will play out of the Glengarry Sports Palace (Billy Gebbie Arena), in Alexandria.

Lavigne tells me that he has received confirmation from the GSP that they can accommodate the team’s schedule. A future meeting will finalize the details.

The club will be looking for volunteers to help out with ticket sales, provide game-day security, and assist with other tasks to help make competitive senior ‘A’ hockey a success in Alexandria.

“This is my first year acting as a GM for a team so I’m nervous,” Lavigne admits, adding that he is “very confident that we will have a competitive team that will also draw in decent crowds.”

The GM notes that the EOSHL “showcases exceptional hockey,” drawing players with junior hockey experience through to the professional ranks in North America and internationally.

“This is top-calibre hockey, which I found out last year when I was the assistant coach with the championship Cornwall Prowlers. I was given a chance from general manager and head coach Mitch Gagne, and I’m forever grateful.” Lavigne stresses that he gained coaching experience along with an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of how a club at this level operates.

“I’m extremely excited for the season to approach and look forward to seeing the county (Glengarry) come together to support the team and continue to grow the great game.”

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Facebook screen grab

In addition to the Pipers, the EOSHL confirms that the North Frontenac Phantoms will join the league for the 2020-21 season. The club will play out of the North Frontenac Community Arena, in Godfrey. The Phantoms are owned and operated by Colton Distefano and his wife, Sydony.

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As noted in a separate post, senior ‘A’ hockey will return to Maxville for a second season, under new ownership and with the club renamed the Mustangs.

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New ownership saves senior hockey in Maxville

Senior ‘A’ hockey will return to Maxville for the 2020-21 season, as new ownership has taken over the community’s EOSHL club.

As previously reported in this post, the Maxville Millionaires franchise was taken over by the league in March, following the failure of the club to complete payment of league fees for the inaugural campaign.

On March 27, Matt Thompson and Maxime Boucher purchased the Millionaires roster from the EOSHL, committing to keep the club in Maxville, albeit under a new moniker, the Mustangs (Junior ‘C’ hockey fans may recall that name previously used by the Maxville team which played in the EOJCHL/NCJHL from 1998 through 2010, when the club was purchased by new investors and moved to Papineuville, Quebec.)

In preparation for the second season of senior ‘A’ hockey, the Mustangs have announced details on their recruitment and training camp.

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Football clubs encourage athletes to stay active during COVID-19 isolation

With spring upon us and local sports fields drying up, the area’s football clubs would normally be running full steam ahead, preparing for their 2020 outdoor gridiron competitions.

However, as we all know, this is not a normal year.

Football, like all sports, remains in limbo due to the COVID-19 isolation requirements. The Cornwall Wildcats are doing their best to remain connected to players during this time, recently launching video workouts via the club’s Facebook page.

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Here is their football warm-up routine:

For more videos, please see the Wildcats Facebook page here.

NCAFA has also assembled a reference for football players. The webpage is available here.

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EOSSAA cancels spring sports calendar

Following on the heels of OFSAA’s cancellation of all provincial spring tournaments, the regional body for high school sports, EOSSAA, has done the same.

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The announcement simply makes official what seemed inevitable, given the COVID-19 pandemic and near shutdown of the province, including the closure of all schools until at least early May.

To read my story on the OFSAA announcement, please see this post.

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GSL provides update on plans for 2020 outdoor season

The 2020 outdoor season for the Glengarry Soccer League remains in limbo, though all are hoping it will be possible to play.

Officially, all in-person activities through to the end of May have been cancelled or postponed. Typically, GSL matches would begin in the latter stages of that month.

The action is in line with the GSL’s sanctioning body, Ontario Soccer. Here is the official announcement from the league:

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Online registration for the 2020 outdoor season, without payment at this point, continues online via the Glengarry Soccer League’s website. As well, online training for officials or coaches is available.

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OFSAA announces cancellation of all provincial spring sports tournaments

All high school Ontario-wide championships scheduled for this spring under the auspices of OFSAA have been cancelled, as the organization announced today.

Our region typically has athletes competing at the provincial track and field championships, and often we have a team or two battling in soccer as well, but this year that won’t happen.

The Glengarry Gaels boys soccer team won OFSAA gold in 2019, triumphing at the tournament held in Ancaster, while the girls from Le Relais captured silver, also in Ancaster.

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Gaels and Rapides at 2019 OFSAA soccer banquet

Gaels boys team head coach Glen Campbell told me in February that he had 13 team members back this year from last season’s provincial championship squad. The boys had been conducting informal sessions during lunch breaks prior to the March Break and ensuing shutdown of schools due to COVID-19.

With the cancellation of the provincial competitions this year, Glengarry will have to wait another season to try to defend its title.

In the March 31 announcement from the OFSAA president, Nick Rowe stated, “As we continue to cope in these challenging times with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is with great disappointment that we announce Tuesday the cancellation of the remaining 2020 spring OFSAA championships and festivals.

“On behalf of the OFSAA Executive Council and all of our staff, we are thankful for the commitment and passion of all student-athletes, coaches, convenors, and volunteer host organizing committees to this point in the school year. Volunteers are the driving force in the planning efforts and execution of these events. A sincere thank you to each and every one of the volunteers across the province.

“As we endure this uncertain coronavirus health crisis, OFSAA will continue to follow the direction of public health experts and government agencies.

“We eagerly look forward to when we can safely get back to the classroom and when sport returns to our school communities.

“Stay safe and healthy.”

This year’s boys ‘A’ soccer tournament was scheduled to be held in London, while the girls event was slated for Perth. Track and field was booked for Toronto.

At this stage, there is no confirmation on when or if high school sports will resume locally.

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Highlighting a successful GDHS curling season

The 2019-20 high school curling season was a successful one for student-athletes from Glengarry District High School.

Leading the way, was the boys rink of Addison Hay (skip), Braeden Hay (third), Camden Van Loon (second), and Caleb Raymond (lead) captured bronze at the Ontario School Curling Championships, February in Chatham.

While the boys competed at the separate Ontario championships, Glengarry’s mixed and girls rinks battled at EOSSAA, in Pembroke and Eganville.

The mixed team of Virginia Vander Byl (lead), Rowan McPherson (second), Abbey Lowe (third), and Matthew Bill (skip), coached by Lindsey Howes (coach), automatically qualified for EOSSAA, as there was no competition at the SD&G bonspiel. At the regional event, the Gaels nabbed bronze, in a four-team pool.

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Curling on the Glengarry Gaels mixed team were, from left, Virginia Vander Byl (lead), Rowan McPherson (second), Abbey Lowe (third), and Matthew Bill (skip), with Lindsey Howes (coach).

They started round-robin play at the Eganville Curling Club against Holy Cross Catholic School from Kemptville. GD got off to a slow start but came back in the 4th end to score a single, making the score 5-1. The Gaels stole a point in the 5th end, while Holy Cross took 3 in the 6th. The teams shook hands at this point, on a final 8-2 score.

Glengarry’s second game set the Gaels against St. Mary’s Catholic School from Brockville. This game had some great shots. GD opened the match with a 3. St. Mary’s scored 1 in the 2nd and 1 in the 3rd to tighten things up, but the Gaels responded with singles in the 4th and the 5th. St. Mary’s came back to score 2 in the 6th and 3 in the 7th to end the game with the win, 8-4.

In the third round-robin game, Glengarry tangled with Opeongo DHS from Douglas. It was a tough game, where the Gaels conceded after 6 ends, with a final score of 10-1.

Back in Eganville, Glengarry faced Holy Cross again, this time for the bronze medal. It was a back-and-forth game. HC opened with a single. Then GD scored 2 in the second and 1 in the 3rd. HC came back with 4 in the 4th end and 1 in the 5th. Glengarry scored 3 in the 6th to tie the game 6-6. HC was forced to 1 in the 7th, so GD had the hammer for the final end. With a nice draw to the 4-foot, the Gaels scored two for the bronze medal. The final score was 8-7.

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The GDHS girls curling rink that competed at EOSSAA included, from left, Kaisa Este (lead), Brenna MacDonald (second), Madison MacRae (third), Kristen MacRae (skip), and Heidi MacRae (coach).

Meanwhile, the girls, who were undefeated at the SD&G championships held in Cornwall and Morrisburg, competed at EOSSAA, which had two pools of four teams each.

Glengarry opened round-robin action at the Pembroke CC playing Opeongo High School from Douglas. The girls played a great game. GD scored 2 in the first end and a single in the second end. In the third end, OHS scored 1. In the 4th, the Gaels picked up 2 more, going on to add a single in 5th and 3 more in the 6th as the squad extended the lead to 9-1. OHS took 2 in the 7th, and GD finished off the game with 2 more points, winning 11-3.

In their second game, Glengarry’s girls tangled with South Grenville DHS from Prescott. This was a closer contest. GD scored a single in the first, and SG took singles in the 2nd and 3rd. The Gaels came back with 2 points in the 4th, while Prescott nabbed 3 in the 5th. GD rebounded to score 4 in the 6th, and SG took 1 in the 7th. The score was 7-6 for GD coming home with hammer. The Gaels clinched the victory, scoring 2 in the final end to win 9-6.

Their third round-robin game saw the Gaels play Notre Dame Catholic High School from Carleton Place, in Eganville. This was a back-and-forth game. GD made some great shots to tie the game in the 8th end (7-7) and force an extra end. Notre Dame came through to score one with the hammer to hand Glengarry its first loss.

In their semifinal, GD struggled to find their weight and readjust to conditions back in Pembroke. The Gaels lost to North Dundas, in a rematch of the SDG final, with a final score of 8-2 after 6 ends.

Still on the ice in Pembroke to close out the bonspiel, the Gaels had a rematch with Notre Dame. GD opened the scoring with a single. ND scored 2 in the 2nd to take the lead, but Glengarry replied with 2 in 3rd. ND got a single in the 4th to tie the game 3-3. GD scored one in the 5th to take a brief lead until the ND skip made a beautiful tap on her last shot in the 6th to score 5 points. GD scored a single in the 7th to bring the score to 8-5.

Glengarry ended its run with a fourth-place EOSSAA result.

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EOSHL reveals league awards for inaugural season

On Monday, the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League announced its 2019-20 league-wide award winners.

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Season play concluded on March 6, when the second-ranked Cornwall Prowlers claimed the inaugural EOSHL championship over the regular season’s top team, the West Carleton Rivermen.

The Prowlers had hoped to celebrate the triumph with two community events on March 21, but those events have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Spink twins reflect on Finnish hockey season, thank fans (video)

Tyson and Tylor Spink recently returned from Finland, following the cancellation of the country’s elite professional hockey league season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 27-year-old forwards played for the Ässät Aces, in Pori, Finland, and led their team in scoring through the shortened 2019-20 season. (See my previous story for more.)

Via Twitter, the Spinks thanked their supporters.

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