Lancaster Curling Club delays season until January

The Lancaster and District Curling Club had hoped to open a modified season this month, but that was contingent on sufficient full-time members signing up. That didn’t happen, so the club’s executive has decided to delay the start of the season until January in hopes that membership numbers increase.

In light of operating costs, the Lancaster club needed “at a minimum, 80 full-time memberships committed and paid” by the set deadline of October 15.

“Thank you to all who have responded to our call but unfortunately there were insufficient memberships by the deadline and after reviewing the income/expense data, and considering the rising COVID cases the season will not begin as planned.”

Lancaster and District Curling Club statement

The board adds that it is committed to holding a season, come January, and has extended the membership drive through to December 1. More information and an online sign-up form are available here.

In addition to a modified curling season, Lancaster is aiming to resume its Learn to Curl program in January.

Club president James Doonan notes, “By shortening the curling season, we will be better able to control losses. As well, during this period, we will review and update the control measures for COVID previously communicated.” For more on the changes to curling this season, please see this previous post.

“The club is committed to having play this season so long as authorities allow. We are aware that it is a major social aspect of many people’s lives in the winter months and we hope to provide a welcoming and above all safe experience for everyone.”

James Doonan, club president

Full refunds and/or pro-rated refunds are (and will be) available.

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Williamstown’s arena closed on Monday due to employee positive COVID-19 test

On Monday morning, the Township of South Glengarry announced the temporary closure of the arena in Williamstown, along with several other township buildings, in online posts that referenced “health and safety reasons.”

Later in the day, the township clarified.

“Acting under the advice of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, the Township of South Glengarry temporarily closed three of its facilities to the public on Monday, October 19th, 2020. The closures of the Municipal Office, Fire Hall in Lancaster, and the Char-Lan Recreation Centre were a direct result of a positive COVID-19 test of an employee.”

Township of South Glengarry statement

The announcement went on to reassure residents and users of the facilities: “The Township has maintained a strict contact tracing regime for all individuals entering these facilities and all relevant information has been provided to public health authorities for investigation and follow-up. At this time, any person requiring follow-up from the EOHU has been contacted. Township staff have since deep cleaned all of the noted facilities.”

When the arena in Williamstown opened for the season on September 21, strict health protocols were implemented, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Among them was capacity limits, required wearing of a face mask, and signing in for contact-tracing purposes.

The Char-Lan Recreation Centre is slated to reopen “for ice times only” later today (October 20) at 5 p.m.

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Rebels complete sweep of Glens; teams to collide again twice this weekend

Last Saturday in Williamstown, the junior ‘B’ Char-Lan Rebels hosted their first action of the season, skating to a 5-3 victory over the Alexandria Glens, in the second half of back-to-back non-contact scrimmages. With the win, the Rebs completed the weekend sweep of their northern rival, as the teams are set to collide again this weekend.

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The Char-Lan Rebels skate against the Alexandria Glens, in EOJHL exhibition scrimmage action. (Rebels photo)

On the heels of a 3-2 win in Alexandria Friday night, Char-Lan maintained the pressure on the Glens an evening later in Williamstown, opening up a 2-0 lead in the first period, en route to prevailing at the final buzzer 5-3.

Tanner Gillies and William Zhang backstopped the Glens in the loss. Alexandria goals were netted by Nico Pozzebon, Kyle Joly, and Zachary Bigras. Picking up the assists were Nicolas Ouellette, Kyle Green, Tyson Allard, Pozzebon, and Alexandre Saul.

Taran Fiacco scored the game-winner for Char-Lan 14 minutes into the third period, on a power play, set up by Alexxi Paquette and an unidentified player. Cuyler Molinaro iced the victory in the late going, with an unassisted tally.

Earlier goals for the Rebels were scored by Ryan Grant (unassisted), Andrew Dixon (from Joseph Samson and Alexandre Elie) and Samson.

Ceili Picard came into the game midway through, backstopping the win, taking over for a young prospect who started.

“Home it was just nice to be back on home ice!! Call it a game, call it a scrimmage, it’s still the #BattleOfGlengarry. Another tight one! The Rebs take it 5-3! Thanks to the Township of South Glengarry for accommodating our fans tonight! #Safe #socialdistanced #GoRebsGo #EOJHL”

Char-Lan Rebels on Twitter

Here’s a video of the Glens during the warm-up.

Next scrimmages set for October 16, 17

On Friday, the Glens will again host the Rebels, with the teams switching to Williamstown for Saturday night to complete the four-game scrimmage series.

Both games are sold out. Anyone arriving without a ticket will be refused entry due to COVID-19 spectator limits.

The games can be viewed online, with a subscription to Hockey TV.

I am told that after these skates, the teams will focus on independent training and development, as much remains on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roster changes

In other developments, former Rebel Rylan Iwachniuk has been traded from his current team, the CCHL Cornwall Colts, to the Nepean Raiders, also of the region’s junior ‘A’ hockey league. The Raiders also got Jack Parker and a player development fee in the trade, while Cornwall received Tyson Tomasini in return.

Iwachniuk was a mainstay of the Char-Lan lineup last season, skating in 43 games and notching 17 points. The forward who hails from Ingleside is 18 this year.

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HEO commits to continuation of modified minor hockey program for fall 2020

You may have heard last week that the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL), arguable Canada’s top minor hockey league, pulled the plug on all activities this fall, suspending programming until January 2021. However, that announcement is league-specific and does not apply locally, as Hockey Eastern Ontario has reiterated that programming, already modified, under its jurisdiction will continue this fall.

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Hockey Eastern Ontario letter, dated 5 October 2020

As it stands, local minor hockey organizations, such as those in Alexandria and Char-Lan, are already operating under a heavily modified system due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to strict health and safety protocols, no games are permitted in an effort to limit player contact.

The focus of fall programming is on training and development, with the hope that game play may resume come January.

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ParticipACTION highlights importance of sports in childhood fitness, health

Remember ParticipACTION from when you were a child? The health-and-fitness-promoting organization, a Canadian non-profit, is still going strong, advocating for us to all be active for the betterment of our health and well-being.

When it comes to children’s activity levels, ParticipACTION notes, “Research shows that children who don’t participate in organized sports exhibited higher emotional distress, shyness, and social withdrawal later than their counterparts.” The full 2020 report card can be accessed here.

Participaction
ParticipACTION graphic

Sadly, the news is not good, as the report card “gives children and youth a D+ for overall physical activity and a D+ for sedentary behaviours.” The report adds, “Less than 1 in 5 children (5-11 year-olds) and youth (12-17 year-olds) in Canada are meeting national movement behaviour guidelines for physical activity, sedentary behaviours and sleep.”

The report goes on to highlight the importance of family working together to promote activity and health. Among the ideas for parents are…

  • Be an active role model
  • Prioritize active transportation (e.g., walking, cycling, wheeling)
  • Create a family media plan that includes screen-free times
  • Encourage more outdoor time

ParticipACTION has oodles of information and resources on its website. There is currently a program running called the Great Big Move, with prizes up for grabs to help encourage families and groups to be active.

The organization also offers a handy mobile app.

With the challenges of this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit recognizes that some families and individuals may not be comfortable engaging in organized sports.

“Is your family opting out of organized sports and activities this year? That’s okay. Take ParticipACTION’s Active Family Pledge and discover new and exciting ways for the whole family to be active together.”

EOHU posting on Facebook

Another great resource is the ParticipACTION Facebook page.

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NGS minor hockey announces player of the week, dropping puck on very different season

The North Glen-Stor Minor Hockey Association recently announced its player of the week, an initiative to celebrate the skaters within the organization in what is a very different kind of season for the sport.

NGS Minor Hockey
NGS Minor Hockey Association graphic

The latest honoree is Xavier Gauthier, a first-year member of the U9 group (novice) this season. According to the announcement, the youngster attends École La Source and “is fast on his skates and has a shot that can’t miss. Xavier loves playing hockey games, and with all the amazing development he’s getting this year with NGS coach Greg Claus, he’s sure to be a force to be reckoned with once he faces his opponents later this season. Xavier credits his love of the game to his amazing coaches, coach Mitch, coach Jeff, and of course, coach Dad (Denis Gauthier).”

Be sure to check out the NGSMHA Facebook page for more news and future players of the week.

Like all minor hockey associations, this fall has seen numerous changes to operations, primarily due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The fall schedule is one of training and development, with all activities centred at the rink in Finch. There are no games permitted. As well, there are strict health and safety protocols in place.

Traditionally, NGS activities are split between ice surfaces in Finch and Maxville, and teams would play league games against squads from across the region, in one of two leagues, the Lower St. Lawrence Minor Hockey League or the Upper Canada Minor Hockey League. The hope is that “normal” operations can resume come January.

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NGSMHA photo

Another change taking effect this year is the name applied to each level of play. Gone are words such as atom and midget, replaced with age-level designations.

  • Midget is now U18
  • Bantam is now U15
  • Peewee is now U13
  • Atom is now U11
  • Novice is now U9
  • Initiation program (IP) now now U7
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Glens notebook: leadership group, player signings

In the days leading up to last night’s first exhibition scrimmage of the fall, the Alexandria Glens announced the team’s player leadership group for the 2020-21 junior ‘B’ hockey season.

hockey players
The leadership group this season for the Glens is, from left, Kyle Green, Nico Pozzebon, captain Braden Legue, and Nicolas Ouellette. (Glens photo)

Braden Legue, who hails from Green Valley, will serve as the team’s 2020-21 season captain. The 19-year-old defenceman last season notched 15 points in 41 games.

Assistant captains will be Kyle Green, Nico Pozzebon, and Nicolas Ouellette. Green, an 18-year-old forward from Clarence, was with the Winchester Hawks last season (14 points in 44 games). Pozzebon is 17 and calls Bourget home. With the Glens last year, he scored at greater than a point-a-game pace (45 pts, 41 GP). Rockland 18-year-old Ouellette is a blueliner entering his second season with the Glens. Last season he recorded 16 points in 44 games.

In other player news, Alexandria recently announced a pair of new player signings. Forward Yan Bessette, age 17, skated for the Clarence-Rockland Crush last season, though he was also called up to the Glens for one contest. Defenceman Jacob Massie, from Lachute, was with Le Sommet Faucon through the 2019-20 campaign, and the 18-year-old has committed to the Glens this year.

Bench help

Ryan Hand
Ryan Hand as a player and coach. (provided photo collage)

Head coach Carl Robillard added some help behind the bench, Ryan Hand, owner of HandMade Hockey, joined the club in the capacity of assistant, bringing a “wealth of knowledge and experience” to the Glens.

The 35-year-old from Ottawa last played competitive hockey in the 2016-17 season, when he suited up for the LNAH Sorel-Tracy Éperviers. It marked his third, and final, campaign in Quebec’s semi-pro league. As a junior, he spent four season in the QMJHL. He went on to play for a number of minor professional teams in the USA before returning to la belle province to wrap up his playing career.

For the last two season, Hand served as an assistant coach with the Hawkesbury Hawks of the CCHL.

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Rebels edge Glens in Friday night hockey scrimmage

Junior ‘B’ hockey returned to the county last night, as the Alexandria Glens and Char-Lan Rebels skated in a modified, non-contact scrimmage, the first of the exhibition season for both clubs. The action at the Glengarry Sports Palace, in Alexandria, was played in front of a limited number of spectators, due to COVID-19 regulations, as the Rebs edged their northern rivals 3-2.

hockey logos

Owen Carter, Seamus O’Connell, and Nathan Faubert scored for Char-Lan, with assists netted by Brant Woodside, Liam MacDonald, Ryan Grant, Alexxi Paquette, and Hunter MacPherson. Goaltending duties were shared by Anthony Innco and Dawson Irving.

Kyle Joly scored both Alexandria goals, in the first period, with assists awarded to Alexandre Saul and Nico Pozzebon. Masters of the mash mansion were Tanner Gillies and Tyler Desjardins.

The two teams are slated to go at it again tonight in Williamstown, at 8:15 p.m. Tickets to the same are now sold out. Only those with a previously purchased ticket will be admitted due to COVID-19 restrictions at the arena. The game will be broadcast online at Hockey TV (subscription required).

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Tighter COVID-19 rules to impact sports in Ottawa, Toronto

The so-called hot spots for COVID-19 cases – Ottawa, Toronto, and Peel Region – have seen a number of new restrictions imposed by the provincial government. The new rules affect many aspects of society, including sports, which now will be prohibited from any scrimmages, limited only to training with physical distancing.

Ontario government logo

From the Ford government announcement… “In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Public Health Measures Table, and local medical officers of health and other health experts, the Ontario government is introducing additional targeted public health measures in the Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions. These modified Stage 2 restrictions will be for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed on an ongoing basis.”

The new rules, for these regions, will take effect on Saturday, October 10, at 12:01 a.m.

In terms of sports, the rules state, “Limiting team sports to training sessions (no games or scrimmages).”

These three regions will also see social gathering numbers reduced to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, along with the closure of bars/restaurants for indoor service, gyms and fitness centres, gaming establishments, cinemas, performing arts centres, spectator areas at racing facilities, and more.

For the full details, please see the government press release here.

These new measures do not, at this time, apply to our region, remains in the government’s Stage 3 plan.

Earlier this week, MPP Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of heritage, sport, tourism, and culture industries, was quoted in a CBC News story about the provincial government’s plans for hockey, specifically the top junior league, the OHL. In the piece, MacLeod was quoted as stating that the OHL will have to “remove physical contact, including bodychecking, if it’s to have a 2020-21 season.”

According to MacLeod, as quoted in the story, the OHL is not interested in playing under a bubble format as the NHL did for its 2020 playoffs. The OHL had already delayed the new season, tentatively aiming for a December 1 start (unlike Quebec’s major junior hockey league which began regular play this month and has experienced COVID-19 positive cases).

The CBC News story about MacLeod and the OHL further indicated that the provincial government would require the OHL and all sports organizations in Ontario to remove close physical contact amongst players. Also complicating issues for the league is the fact two teams are located in current COVID-19 hot spots, while three other clubs play out of USA cities.

Regarding local junior hockey leagues, the EOJHL (junior ‘B’) has begin team-versus-team scrimmages without body contact, as has the CCHL (junior ‘A’), following the Hockey Eastern Ontario return-to-play policy and its high-performance league guidelines.

The so-called HEO Stage 3(a) allows “our players an opportunity to safely continue their development by participating in modified-for-COVID non-contact game play.” In addition to the CCHL and EOJHL, this applies to the HEO U18 ‘AAA’ and HEO Minor ‘AAA’ leagues.

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Sold-out scrimmage tonight in Alexandria to feature Glens, Rebels

Junior ‘B’ hockey action returns to the ice at the Glengarry Sports Palace tonight, where the Alexandria Glens will host the Char-Lan Rebels in a modified scrimmage, the first exhibition play of the 2020-12 EOJHL season.

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Both clubs have been training independently for more than a month, awaiting the green light for game play. However, current COVID-19 restrictions limit what can be done.

As such, the Glens and Rebels will skate in a non-contact scrimmage, with regular rules and timing applying, in front of a limited number of spectators, all of whom were required to by tickets in advance, online.

General manager Derick Viau tells me that the club was limited to selling 50 tickets. Anyone showing up tonight at the rink without a ticket will not be permitted entry.

Those attending should be aware of the Glens’ spectator safety policy that has been enacted due to COVID-19 protocols.

  • Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
  • Please arrive early to accommodate for the check-in procedures that will be in place each game, which include temperature checks and COVID-19 screening questions.
  • Non-medical face masks are mandatory for all spectators while attending Glens home games. Masks will be available for purchase at each game.
  • Masks must be worn at all times, unless you are seated.
  • Please purchase your tickets in advance, online at tickets.alexandriaglens.com to guarantee your entry into the game, and prevent long wait times to enter the arena at check-in. No tickets will be sold at the arena until further notice.
  • Members of the same household may sit together; however, members of different households must maintain a 2-metre distance at all times and sit next to a socially-distanced marker.
  • Please do not leave your seat during the game unless you are going directly to the washroom or exiting the facility.
  • A “No Re-Entry” policy will be in effect throughout each home game.
  • All staff, players, and spectators are required to self-screen.
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms or feeling unwell, please stay home.
  • At the end of the game, fans will be directed to exit the arena at specified intervals. This will be guided by announcements over the PA system and Glens’ ushers to ensure everyone can maintain physical-distancing measures.
  • Any fans that are not following the social distancing guidelines will be asked to leave.
  • Group gathering on the concourse will not be permitted.
  • All aisle seats will be unavailable.
  • Standing areas for viewing will not be available.

Tonight’s game will be broadcast online, on the Hockey TV platform, with Liam Arkinson providing play-by-play commentary. Start time is set for 8:15 p.m.

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