On Sunday in Ottawa, first-year Alexandria Glens head coach Carl Robillard got his first opportunity to work with a number of his players and prospects, as the junior ‘B’ hockey club held its first summer workout session of 2020.
While there has been plenty of off-ice hockey business since the 2019-20 season ended in late February, the COVID-19 pandemic shelved plans for any official team functions, until last week, when Ontario government and Hockey Canada restrictions were loosened.
Robillard was named to the post of head coach for the Glens in late May. Since then, general manager Derick Viau has added to the staff, pegging David Morash and Jason Bélanger as assistant coaches of the team for the 2020-21 season.
On the player side, Viau has been busy signing individuals, including goaltender Tanner Gillies, who hails from Orleans. The 2003-born player, backstopped the Navan Grads U18 ‘AAA’ team last season, recording a 2.78 goals-against average.
The general manager has also announced the signing of two defencemen, Tanner Legue (also with the U18 Grads last winter) and Braden Legue (who’s returning to the Glens for a second campaign). The Legue boys, aged 17 and 19 respectively, are brothers, hailing from Green Valley.
Another blueliner inked this spring by Viau is Patryk Kostrzewa. The 18-year-old D-man skated for the U18 Ottawa Jr. Senators U18 ‘AAA’ squad last season.
On the trade front, Reese Donnelly was dealt to the Winchester Hawks to complete a multi-player transaction from November 30, 2019. The 18-year-old forward from Orleans split the 2019-20 junior ‘B’ hockey season between the Char-Lan Rebels and their northern cousins, recording 13 points in 34 games.
Meanwhile, the Glens welcomed, from the Hawks, a new forward, as 2001-born Kyle Green was picked up. The Clarence native had 14 points in 44 games with the Winchester club last winter.
Coach Robillard tells me that he was pleased with Sunday’s first skate, adding that there was a bit of rust on the boys due to the long layoff from skating. He plans to make this a weekly event, leading up to the late-August training camp.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With all that has been going on in the world of late, it seems as though the season for the Alexandria Glens concluded a lifetime ago. Officially, the team’s 2019-20 CCHL2 campaign ended on February 25, with a 5-1 victory on home ice over the Athens Aeros.
It was one of few bright spots on the season that saw the Glens win just 9 of 44 games. The squad lost 31 in regulation time and a further 4 in either overtime or a shootout.
Following the team’s final contest of the winter, I interviewed alternate captain Nico Pozzebon and first-year general manager Derick Viau.
As Viau notes, it was right back to business looking towards next season. Little did he and the players know at the time what was in store for them and us in the weeks that followed.
In mid-March, we learned of the passing of Mike (Michel) Depratto. He was key in saving the Glens a few years back, leading a group of individuals who established the club as a community not-for-profit entity.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have just learned of the passing of Mike Depratto. He was involved in keeping the Glens in the community and he was HEO’s current 1st VP. He will be truly missed in the Community of Alexandria and Hockey.”
Alexandria Glens statement, March 14
A Hockey Eastern Ontario note, attributed to minor president Gary Hopkins, probably summed it up best: Depratto’s “contributions to hockey in Eastern Ontario cannot be overstated, but more importantly he has been a friend and a mentor to many of us on a personal level. We will miss him.”
The unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic altered plans for the Glens during the off-season as well, with the team having to cancel its annual team banquet and awards ceremony. Instead, award-winners were announced remotely.
Most Improved Player: #17 Elijah Boisvert
Glens Manager’s Trophy for Top Scorer: #11 Nico Pozzebon
Glens Sportsmanship & Ability Award: #8 Zachary power and #16 Ryan Leonard
Glens Leadership Trophy: #11 Nico Pozzebon
Glens Best Defenceman: #21 Nicolas Ouellette and #12 Zachary Bigras
Ernest Bellefeuille Award: #28 Alexim Veilleux
President’s Trophy for MVP: #11 Nico Pozzebon
From the general manager’s perspective, his first foray into leading a junior ‘B’ hockey club was a whirlwind, with Viau telling me that he has nothing but pride for all the players who contributed to the Glens over the course of he 2019-20 season.
Looking Towards the 2020-21 Campaign
General manager Viau’s to-do list is a lengthy one. Initially, a spring skate for players and potential Glens was planned, but that had to be nixed due to the hockey shutdown.
Regardless, planning for the new season had to continue. Online recruitment for the team’s August (hopefully) camp has been set up on the Glens website and can be accessed here. The team invites hockey players ages 16 through 20 years old to sign up or contact the general manager (firstname.lastname@example.org or at 613-360-0077) for more information. Payment of camp fees has been waived until further notice.
In terms of staff behind the bench, the Glens are looking for an equipment manager / trainer. Anyone interested should contact Viau.
Last year’s coaches – Marc Rousseau, Stephan Ouellette, and Marco Pozzebon – were slated to return for a second kick at the can, but the team has since parted ways with the trio. (See the updated story here.)
As things stand now, the Glens camp is scheduled to begin in late August, followed by the CCHL2 pre-season and regular season in September.
The hockey shutdown mandated by Hockey Canada in March curtailed the league’s 2019-20 playoffs in the second round, meaning there was no league champion declared.
Tradition, each season of the Alexandria District Minor Hockey Association is capped off by a celebratory banquet, where award winners are presented their medals, photos are taken, and the kids get to enjoy a light meal.
Of course, this is not a normal year.
The hockey season was stopped in mid-March, with remaining games for teams still in action later cancelled.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has gone on, cancellation of the annual banquet was inevitable.
Due to COVID-19 concerns and a Hockey Canada directive to cease all hockey-related activities, as well as an order by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit to close community and recreation facilities, the Alexandria Glens of the CCHL2 have deferred their board meeting, scheduled for March 25.
At this time of uncertainty in the sports world and otherwise, a new date for the meeting has not been set.
The 2019-20 CCHL2 hockey season came to an end last night for the Alexandria Glens, as the team skated in a rare home-ice Tuesday night affair.
What has been a disappointing “rebuilding” season for the team ended on a positive note, as the boys nabbed a 5-1 victory over the Athens Aeros.
The Glens scored in every period, 2 in the first, one in the second, and 2 in the third, as they fired 32 shots at the Athens net. Zachary Power, Andy Lightle-Blais, Nico Pozzebon, Kyle Joly, and Nicolas Corry were the Alexandria marksmen on this night. Picking up assists were Pozzebon (2), Jacob Lefebvre (2), Ryan Leonard (2), Joshua Weatherall, Graham Robertson, and Zachary Bigras.
The result made a winner of goaltender Danik Martin, who faced just 18 shots on goal.
The small number of fans in attendance witnessed a determined Glens effort and a largely quickly played game that had its physical moments, particularly in the second stanza which featured a centre-ice fight between Alexandria’s Alexim Veilleux and Joel Brennan of the Aeros.
Pozzebon, with his three-point contribution, was named the game’s first star, and Leonard took second-star honours.
The Glens were one-for-three on the power play, and the penalty kill was perfect, shutting down Athens in two opportunities.
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The Glens finish the season with just nine wins. The only team worse was Athens, which has zero with one game remaining to be played. Alexandria recorded 22 points, on a 9-31-3-1 record. I will have more analysis in an upcoming story.
On the road in Winchester last night, the CCHL2 Alexandria Glens were doubled off by the Hawks 6-3.
The Glens fell behind 2-0 before getting on the board late in the first period, as affiliated player Landon Brownlee scored his first-ever junior ‘B’ hockey goal, assisted by Zachary Power and Nicolas Ouellette.
The Hawks put up a three-spot in the second stanza to salt this one away.
Nico Pozzebon, with back-to-back tallies in the third, rounded out the Glens scoring. Helpers went to Tyson Allard and Power on the first, and Power and Ouellette on the other.
Danik Martin and Tyler Desjardins split goaltending duties, facing 40 shots collectively.
Next up for the Glens is a trip down south to face off against the rival Char-Lan Rebels. Game time for the Saturday night tilt is set for 8 p.m. The junior ‘B’ hockey match will be preceded by a pair of high school exhibition contests between Char-Lan and Holy Trinity, with the girls teams playing at 5 p.m., followed by the boys at 6 p.m.