With the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, some aspects of hockey life have gone on, while others have stopped or been changed. For a young goaltender from Embrun, the situation over the past few months delayed his visit to his OHL draft club until this week.
The 15-year-old Jackson Parsons, who was picked in the 2020 OHL draft in the third round, 53rd overall, by the Kitchener Rangers. The top junior league in the province held its draft virtually this year, so this recent visit to the team’s home was Parsons’ first opportunity to see their facilities and meet in-person with staff.
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.
Last evening, the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League (senior ‘A’) held an expansion draft for the three new teams to begin play this fall. Among them is the Glengarry Pipers, based at Alexandria’s Glengarry Sports Palace.
With the second overall selection, the Pipers picked Neil Chabot, who last season was a member of the EOSHL-championship-winning Cornwall Prowlers.
Glengarry’s second selection saw Brandon Billie added to the fold. He was with the West Carleton Rivermen for the 2019-20 season, where his now-former team was the playoff runner-up.
Mark Pearl, formerly with the Maxville team, was the Pipers’ third-round selection, and Maxime Bonin, from the Prowlers, was Glengarry’s fourth man added to the roster.
Frontenac Phantoms picks were Matt Wilson, Ryan Carisse, Blade Grigg, and Hayden Ford.
Chosen by the Smiths Falls Rideaus were Greg Harding, Thank you Power, and Joey Driscoll.
The main EOSHL draft is scheduled for Saturday, May 9, and will involve all seven franchises.
The Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League (senior ‘A’) expansion draft is scheduled for tonight, May 5, beginning at 8 p.m. It will be conducted remotely, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three new teams – the Glengarry Pipers (Alexandria), the Frontenac Phantoms (Godfrey), and the Smiths Falls Rideaus – are joining the EOSHL for the league’s second season, set to take to the ice this fall.
The expansion draft will have four rounds, with the clubs selecting in the following order: Frontenac, Glengarry, and Smith Falls.
The four original franchises previously each announced their respective 25-man protected lists, leaving five players from each team exposed and available in tonight’s draft.
For background on the Maxville Mustangs, please see this previous post, which includes the team’s list of protected and unprotected players.
To read about the Alexandria-based Glengarry Pipers, please see this story.
The EOSHL is committed to a seven-team schedule for the 2020-21 season, though there is a possibility of one more new franchise joining the fold before play begins. Should that happen, there will be no additional expansion draft; rather, the team will take to the ice with players it signs directly.
The main draft for 2020, involving all seven clubs, is booked for Saturday, May 9, starting at 1 p.m. There will be four rounds, with teams picking in the following order:
The defending-champion Prowlers have been busy of late re-signing players. Among those inked to date are Tristan Perrault-Gagnon, Storm Adams, James Kirkwood, Jesse Fontaine, Dylan Stacey, Devon Burns, Frederick Roy (EOSHL regular-season leader for wins, goals-against average, and save percentage; voted league’s best goaltender for the 2019-20 season), and Marc-Andre Labelle.
Cornwall has scheduled its prospects camp for July 25, at the multi-sport complex, with participants guaranteed two scrimmages and lunch. Pre-registration via e-mail at email@example.com is required.
Prowlers general manager and head coach Mitch Gagne has hired Wayne Disotell as assistant coach, replacing Jamie Lavigne who is now part of the new Glengarry Pipers franchise. Disotell has been involved in senior ‘A’ hockey for the past two seasons. He was with the Prowlers in 2018-19 in the LHSAO and with the Maxville Millionaires last year.
Award-winners from the 2019-20 season:
Brian Landry and Jacob Dawson: co-winners of hardest worker honours
James Kirkwood: top defenceman
Devon Burns and Frederick Roy: co-winners of most dedicated award
Storm Adams: sportsmanlike award
Marc-Andre Labelle: top forward
Marc-Andre Labelle and Frederick Roy: co-winners Prowlers regular-season MVP
Marc-Andre Labelle and Frederick Roy: co-winners Prowlers playoffs MVP
Prior to the shutdown, the region’s junior ‘A’ league held its annual bantam protect draft.
Hawkesbury’s first pick came fourth in the first round, as the Hawks chose Brad Horner, a defenceman from Vankleek Hill. He played last season with the Eastern Ontario Wild ‘AAA’ major bantam hockey team.
Other members of the Hawks 2020 draft class were Marc-Olivier McCarthy (forward, Glen Robertson), Yanick Blanchard (forward, Embrun), Derek Larocque (forward, Alexandria), Lucas Peever (forward, St. Albert), Mathieu Levesque (defenceman, Hawkesbury), Antoine Dorion (forward, Orleans), Jake Pulkinghorn (defenceman, Ottawa), Justin Flamini (defenceman, Cumberland), and Jayson McIntyre (forward, Orleans).
Of note, two of the draft selections are students at Alexandria’s École secondaire catholique Le Relais. Another student from the school was picked by the Cornwall Colts.
The Hawks ended the 2019-20 season second in the Yzerman Division, with a record of 36 wins, 24 regulation losses, and 2 overtime defeats, for 74 points. The squad was slated to open the CCHL playoffs against the third-place team from the Robinson Division, the Smiths Falls Bears (33-24-5, for 71 points). Interestingly, the teams had identical regular-season powerplay and penalty kill percentages, at 18.3 and 86 percent, respectively.
On the cancellation of the playoffs, Alexandria’s Felix Sauve, a rookie defenceman with the Hawks, admitted to me, “It sucks! We had a lot of key pieces this year which could have brought us far in the long run. It’s hard to say goodbye to some of the boys since you don’t know when you will meet or cross paths again.” However, the teen acknowledged, “The safety of everyone is the number 1 priority, so it was the right move.”
Sauve saw action in 52 games, notching 1 goal and 5 assists, along with 32 penalty minutes.
He was among several local athletes who were mainstays on the roster this season, including forwards Mathieu Sabourin and Jeremy Quesnel.
Hawk Luke Grainger was honoured with a league award as the 2019-20 Top Graduating Player. The skater from Beaconsfield led the CCHL in scoring with 82 points (34 goals, 48 assists) in 56 games. He’s committed to playing NCAA hockey next season at Western Michigan University for next season.
In the league’s announcement, head coach Rick Dorval was quoted as saying, “Luke’s development with and without the puck has been tremendous. He is one of the most electrifying players in this league and is always a threat to opponents. He can move as fast east-west as north-south. We will miss him next year but wish him the best of luck at WMU.”
Aside from Grainger, the Hawks bid adieu to Matt Gasuik, Azzaro Tinling, Sebastien Paquette, Shane McGrath, and Zach Johnson.
2020 Summer Camp
Registration for the Hawkesbury Hawks summer camp is now open. The event is scheduled for June 19 to 21, but is subject to change due to Hockey Canada mandates around the COVID-19 situation.
The camp will be held in Gloucester, at the Richcraft Sensplex. Entry is $250, and players will each have approximately 4.5 hours of ice time spread over three games.