Tag Archives: Cornwall

Sounds of silence: plug pulled on all GSL outdoor soccer for 2020

The latest announcement from the Glengarry Soccer League officially ended any prospect of a summer season of the beautiful game in the county, as the GSL has pulled the plug on play in all adult divisions.

The GSL had previously cancelled the minor (youth) season for summer 2020, but there was hope of some sort of adult season, perhaps later in the summer or early fall.

That prospect was ended with this June 22 announcement: “Unfortunately, there will be no GSL soccer this outdoor season. The GSL has made the difficult decision to cancel ALL divisions. This includes Senior, Tier 2, and Hearts (in addition to the previously cancelled minor division).”

The addition of the Hearts to the cancellation list refers to the competitive Glengarry Hearts minor teams that the county fields each year to compete in the East Region Soccer League. The ERSL has not cancelled its season, which, in a normal year, would have begun in mid-May and run through August, occasionally into September.

A GSL representative told me that the county league was waiting on word from the ERSL and/or the EODSA (the Eastern Ontario District Soccer Association, which is the region’s governing body for the sport), but none came, so the GSL acted, officially silencing soccer balls in Glengarry.

Meanwhile, Ontario Soccer and the EODSA has announced that clubs can begin phase 1 of the Return to Play plan.

Ontario Soccer notice
Ontario Soccer graphic

According to Ontario Soccer plan, phase 1 allows for a return to modified training. Restrictions include no contact and no league, exhibition, festival, or tournament matches.

Ontario Soccer notes that the organization “will determine timelines for each Phase in alignment with the Province of Ontario provincial health authorities involving government orders, restrictions, and guidelines.”

The ERSL has been working on a contingency plan to salvage a 2020 season, which now will not include any Glengarry Hearts teams. According to the current outline, “If we are not in Phase 3 of Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play Guidelines on or before July 31, 2020, the ERSL will cancel the 2020 outdoor season.”

The hope is that a 9-week season could start August 2, providing 10 to 12 games per team, and running through early October. This is what the ERSL bills as “our most extensive delay,” one of a number of scenarios within their contingency plan. Under this situation, divisions would be assigned two game days per week, Cup and Shield events would be cancelled, and there would be no two-week break in the schedule.

The Cornwall-based Seaway Valley Soccer Club also cancelled its 2020 outdoor season for house teams and the Coyotes (tournament play).

The Seaway Valley Blazers ERSL teams, which play out of Cornwall, are still registered to play in the region’s competitive league, should its season proceed at some point. Currently, the club is set to field boys teams at the U10, U11, U12, U13, U14, U15 (two squads), U16, U17, and U18 levels. On the girls side, expected teams are U10, U11, U12, U13, U14, U16, and U18 (two squads).

Training for Match Officials

Registration for online training of match officials continues through to July 3. Clinics are expected to be run in August, assuming sufficient numbers sign up.

The GSL’s minor referee-in-chief, Matthew Houlzet, notes, “All learning is completed online and will certify you to referee and line games for U12 and older.”

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Cyclist to pedal 250 km perimeter of SDG in fundraiser

Joe McNamara plans to take to his bike on June 20, cycling 250 km to complete a perimeter ride of Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, raising funds for charity.

Joe McNamara
Joe McNamara challenges local cyclists to join his fund-raising effort this month

The ride will support the Rotary Club of Cornwall and local food banks, and you can get on board in one of two ways: by sponsoring McNamara or by participating in a virtual ride of your own.

He plans to set off on his journey at 5:45 a.m., aiming to complete the course by sundown, around 8:50 p.m. on what is the longest day of the year, our summer solstice.

You can support McNamara by donating here.

Cyclists who’d like to register to join in a virtual ride on June 20 will receive a special patch, stick, and certificate in recognition of their achievement. A portion of the entry collected will be donated to the Rotary Club of Cornwall Sunrise Foundation and distributed evenly to local food banks.

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South Glengarry officially shutters all rec facilities, programs through the summer

It’s official: sports and recreation facilities, along with all programming, will be shuttered through the end of the summer in the township of South Glengarry.

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The closure means that all township-organized sports leagues, summer camps, and recreation programs are cancelled through to September 1. As well, facilities are closed and will not be accepting bookings.

The township’s notice indicated they had received 1000 registrations to date for various programs.

From the announcement…

“Township staff relied on guidance from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), which ensures municipalities are meeting, or exceeding, the orders issued by the Province of Ontario. The Township’s summer camp and programs, as originally planned, would not presently meet COVID-19 prevention and control measures for physical distancing requirements, participant ratios, and access to facilities,” explained Rick Ladouceur, director of recreation and facilities with the Township of South Glengarry.

May 28, 2020 statement from the Township of South Glengarry

Refunds will be issued to those who had already paid for programming.

The township notes that while organized programming has been cancelled, outdoor facilities are open and available for use, with some restrictions.

Trails, tennis courts, soccer fields, and ball diamonds are open, though residents are reminded to follow physical distancing guidelines set by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and the Ford government.

Closed in the township are the splash pad in Williamstown, play structures, picnic areas, and all indoor facilities.

Taxpayers shouldn’t be expecting a positive impact to the township’s budget, though.

As Lachlan McDonald, South Glengarry’s treasurer and general manager of corporate services, explains to me that “we have deployed a lot of those resources to maintenance items, and with halls/facilities closed it is the optimal time to re-fresh – coat of paint, plaster holes, etc. The interesting thing, when thinking about soccer, is that despite no soccer/parks, we are still keeping the grass cut.”

As well, full staff continue to work, though have been “deployed somewhat differently.”

Budget-wise, the recreation and facilities line went from $1,428,030 in 2019 to $1,759,800 for 2020. McDonald adds, “I’m hoping some of the efficiencies found during these times of austerity will have an afterglow in budget 2021 and onward.”

North Glengarry and Cornwall

In Cornwall, recreation programs remain suspended. As for facilities, the city has closed the aquatic centre, the multi-sport complex, the civic complex, the BMX track in Guindon Park, play structures, picnic areas, the outdoor gym, splash pads, and outdoor pools.

Meanwhile, outdoor recreational facilities, such as fields, ball diamonds, the skatepark, and tennis courts, are “open for low-contact, single-competitor sports. No team play is permitted. Clubhouses and change rooms remain closed.”

Some of the the city’s public washrooms at recreational areas are open, though.

Also open are Marina 200, boat launches, and trails.

North Glengarry continues to follow recommendations from the Ontario government, mayor Jamie MacDonald tells me. The township hasn’t made any decisions regarding the summer, as of yet, though.

As the North Glengarry website notes, “At this time playground equipment and bathrooms remain closed until further notice. Users are asked to respect Public Health safety recommendations while using any park installations.”

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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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Goaltender Jackson Parsons signs with OHL Kitchener Rangers

A goaltender who split last season with the CCHL2 Char-Lan Rebels and the U18 Cornwall Colts has been signed by the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL.

Jackson Parsons, who calls Embrun home, announced his commitment via his Instagram page.

In a media release, the Rangers, who picked Parsons in the third-round pick (53rd overall) of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, confirmed that the net minder has “signed his Ontario Hockey League standard player agreement.”

The team’s general manager, Mike McKenzie, stated, “Jackson is a quick and athletic goalie that had a very good [2019-20] season. He was a guy that was on our radar as one of the top goalies in the draft, and we were extremely excited to draft him and even more excited to see him sign with our team. We would like to welcome Jackson and his family to the Rangers.”

Parsons is 15 years old (he will turn 16 in November) and checks in at 5 ft. 11 in., 185 lb.

Last season, he played three games with the junior ‘B’ Rebels, recording a 2.79 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. With the U18 Colts, over 23 games, he had a 2.28 GAA and a .929 SVS%.

In the 2017-18 season, he was a member of the ‘AAA’ Eastern Ontario Wild minor bantams (1.96 GAA in 16 games), and during the 2018-19 campaign he was with the CIHA Voyageurs (3.76 GAA over 25 games).

To check out a video of Parsons introducing himself to Kitchener fans, please see this post on the Rangers website.

hockey player
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Spring youth tackle football season officially scrapped for 2020

This year’s spring season of community youth tackle football has been officially cancelled, as a result of health precautions in the fight with the COVID-19 virus.

The Cornwall Wildcats and Glengarry Gaels football clubs broke the news to their players and families, via social media.

Gaels club president Ian Parent stated, “Our spring program was due to start in the next few weeks, but the Ontario Football Alliance has suspended all activities for the month of May, forcing us to cancel our season.”

The club will be processing refunds in the coming weeks for anyone who had previously registered and paid.

Parent added in his announcement, “We will keep you informed of all further developments and are hopeful to be able to field our Varsity [high school] team in the fall. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for possible club events and fundraising activities.”

The Glengarry organization, based at GDHS in Alexandria, typically fields a spring team at each level, providing gridiron football for boys and girls aged 7 through 15.

logos - football

The announcement from the Cornwall Wildcats: “Our Seaway Valley Spring House League was due to start playing games in early May. Registration numbers have been strong, but the Ontario Football Alliance, which is the governing body of football in Ontario, has suspended all football activities in May. THIS NOW FORCES US TO CANCEL THE 2020 SPRING SEASON.”

“We are hopeful for a 2020 NCAFA season. Traditionally try-outs begin in late July, with the season starting third week of August. We will continue to look to Football Canada and Ontario Football Alliance for guidance on start dates.”

Cornwall Wildcats announcement

The Wildcats recommend that athletes “continue to be active and to stay in shape,” adding, “We will be back on the field at some point and we want to be ready! Thank you to CROSSFIT CORNWALL and coach KYLE LABELLE for his great workouts on social media.”

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James Lauzon commits to fall 2020 CÉGEP football

Set to graduate in June from Vankleek Hill Collegiate, James Lauzon is already looking to continue his football career, having committed to join the team at le CÉGEP de l’Outaouais in Gatineau, where the teen will also pursue a technical degree in mechanical engineering.

James Lauzon
James Lauzon (Cornwall OFC Wildcats photo)

Lauzon, who recently turned 18, was a member of the Glengarry Gaels high school football team, a collaboration between VCI and Glengarry District High School, in Alexandria.

He’s also previously played for the Cornwall OFC Wildcats in games across the province, as an offensive lineman.

As for his contribution to the gridiron game at the CÉGEP level, he says, “I’ll most likely be playing offensive guard, but that could change before the season starts. I’ll definitely play on the offensive line, but I don’t necessarily know where.”

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, Lauzon is working part-time and training for fall football.

Regarding the Outaouais Griffons, the O-lineman tells me that he hasn’t been given a specific home training plan, rather they are “encouraging us to create/find and follow our own workout routine.”

Even if the OFC Wildcats due play this summer, Lauzon likely won’t be joining them, something he says he’s disappointed about, adding, “I just need to make as much money as I can and be in the best shape” for the upcoming CÉGEP season.

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Youth football leagues making contingency plans for 2020 schedules

Physical distancing requirements to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic have put a crimp in all sports schedules this year, including youth football.

The latest league to explore contingencies is NCAFA, which offers a fall competitive program across Eastern Ontario, including teams from the Cornwall Wildcats. Typically, game play begins in August, running through late October.

Representatives from NCAFA recently convened a sub-committee videoconference meeting “on preparing and planning our return to play once we get the go-ahead from our governing bodies and from the municipalities we play in.”

The goal of the group is to be as prepared as possible, if and when football is again permitted.

“We figure that teams would need a minimum of three weeks of practices to properly teach safe contact and get some plays together.”

Possible schedules under consideration are shown in this chart.

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Potential schedules for fall tackle youth football, proposed by NCAFA.

The start date affects the length of the season, as the league is restricted by late-fall weather. The group is also exploring what play might look like if physical distancing requirements continue into September. The likely scenario then would be some sort of tournament, where teams would each get three games.

“Football will be back. And when it does, NCAFA will be ready for it. It’s important that our kids get to be kids again.”

NCAFA sub-committee announcement

The Cornwall Wildcats, which also field spring youth teams that compete in a local friendly league with the Glengarry Gaels, and a squad in the OFC (provincial varsity league), have been trying various methods to stay connected with players, including the use of online workouts and videos.

As the days and weeks pass, the likelihood of seeing spring football is dimming. Usually, the OFC Wildcats would be working out en masse outdoors by this time of year, with game play to begin in mid to late May.

As for the spring youth recreational league, their schedule is traditionally May and June.

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Junior C lacrosse season scrapped due to COVID-19 concerns

The Ontario Junior ‘C’ Lacrosse League has announced that there will be no 2020 season, meaning the region’s team, the Cornwall Celtics, won’t see any action this year.

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In the April 17 statement, the OJCLL wrote, the league “is saddened to announce the cancellation of the 2020 junior ‘C’ lacrosse season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The OJCLL held an online meeting featuring representatives from the league’s 17 teams, with the focus on the “safety of players, staff, officials, and fans, as well as arena availability.”

League commissioner Reg Holinshead noted, “The physical nature of lacrosse, along with the reality of locker rooms, showers, buses, and even spectator seating, made it impossible for us to envision a way that we could responsibly begin play anytime soon. Arena availability was also a concern, with two clubs unable to take the floor until at least August 1, and many others without homes until July at the earliest. This was a really tough decision for our league because, like our players and fans, we would love to be in arenas thinking about goals, saves, and hits – not sick relatives, social distancing, and economic uncertainty. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t realistic, and we needed to put the health of our players, staff, officials, and fans first.”

Players aged 17-21 participate in the junior ‘C’ lacrosse league which was slated to open its 13th season April 24 in Oakville. The OJCLL features 17 teams from Ontario and Quebec, with newcomers Orangeville and Six Nations slated to begin play this year.

“The lacrosse community has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have players who have lost family members to this awful disease, fans who are out of work, and sponsors that have closed their doors. It’s a terrible situation, and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected. On behalf of all 17 of our teams, I want to wish everyone involved with the league good health and safety as we navigate through these troubling times,” Holinshead added.

The OJCLL, which is “the stepping stone for Canada’s game,” plans to continue working “closely with the Ontario and Canadian Lacrosse Associations regarding the 2021 season and the impact of this year’s cancellation on players.”

Locally, Celtics general manager Vicky Tait broke the news to her players and team supporters: “It is with great regret that I share this news. I’m sure our Celtic community will be deeply saddened but also understand the importance and necessity of our league decision.”

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