With ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic and despite the province loosening healthy restrictions, two local junior hockey teams, the Hawkesbury Hawks and the Alexandria Glens, have announced the postponement of planned summer camps.
The junior ‘A’ Hawks, which play in the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) had planned for a camp in June, postponing that to July. Once again, though, the club has been forced into another delay, now scheduling its 2020 training camp for August 21 to 23, in Hawkesbury.
The camp, to be held at the Robert Hartley Complex, is open to hockey players with 2000-04 birth years, with the Hawks “looking to fill 5-6 forward positions, 3-4 defence positions, and 1 goalie position.”
As for the Glens, the team had slated its 2020 training camp for August, at the Glengarry Sports Palace in Alexandria. However, last week the club announced a deferral: “Unfortunately, we must announce the postponement of our Main Camp to Friday, September 18th, in Alexandria.”
Last Sunday, new head coach Carl Robillard engaged a number of prospects in on-ice drills at a rink in Ottawa, part of a series of summer training sessions being run in accordance with current COVID-19 protocols.
The Central Canada Hockey League (junior ‘A’) held its Annual General Meeting on June 29, the first time it had been done via video conferencing, for the 12 clubs of the Eastern Ontario loop.
“While uncertainty remains, the return to play protocols developed by Hockey Eastern Ontario through our four local health units and the Canadian Junior Hockey League have allowed us to prepare for the upcoming weeks and months.
The CCHL will conduct its scheduled meeting on July 15, and at that time will confirm the start date and schedule length based on the most current information of the day.
We look forward to hitting the ice for training camp and our annual showcase when it is safe for players, officials and spectators to do so.
CCHL announcement following the 2020 Annual General Meeting
The 2019-20 came to an abrupt end in March, with the playoffs set to begin, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the mandated Hockey Canada shutdown.
The Hawkesbury Hawks (36-24-2-0) were scheduled to play the Smiths Falls Bear (33.24-3-2) in their opening-round playoff series, while the Cornwall Colts (21-35-1-5) didn’t qualify for post-season action.
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.
With five regular-season CCHL games remaining, the Hawkesbury Hawks have already clinched a playoff position, currently placed second in the Yzerman Division, on a record of 34-21-2-0.
The team includes a trio of players from Alexandria.
Mathieu Sabourin is a 19-year-old forward, who checks in 6 ft., 146 lb. and wears jersey number 7. He’s played in 31 games this season with the junior ‘A’ hockey club, notching 10 points and 22 penalty minutes. Last season, Sabourin was in the CCHL2 with the Char-Lan Rebels.
Wearing jersey 15 is Jeremy Quesnel, also 19 and playing forward. The 5 ft. 8 in, 150 lb. skater has suited up for 56 Hawks games this season, scoring 31 points and taking 80 PIM. He was a member of the Cornwall Colts for the previous two seasons.
On defence is Felix Sauve, number 79. The 17-year-old blueliner, a rookie, is 5 ft. 11 in., 170 lb. He’s recorded 5 points and 28 PIM with the Hawks. Last season, he skated at the junior ‘B’ level with the Alexandria Glens.
Hawkesbury has one hometown player: Jeremie Payant is a rookie forward who wears jersey number 71.
The team’s roster of defensive players also includes St. Eugene’s Austin Gaspar and Samuel Mayer from L’Orignal.
All five of Hawkesbury’s remaining CCHL regular-season games this season are road contests, starting with February 28 in Brockville.
In January 12 CCHL hockey action on the road in Rockland, Alexandria’s Felix Sauve, playing for the Hawkesbury Hawks, potted his first career junior ‘A’ goal, in his team’s 4-3 loss to the Nationals.
The 17-year-old defenceman’s tally came 6:27 into the third period, as the Hawks fought their way back into a game that they trailed 3-1 entering the frame. Sauve’s goal was assisted by Jeremy Quesnel, also from the Alexandria area, and Zachary Lefebvre.
Hawkesbury’s other goals were netted by Mark Cooper and Brendan McCarthy, with Azzaro Tinling, Dovar Tinling, and Sean E. Clarke nabbing the helpers.
Sauve, who checks in at 5 ft. 11 in., 170 lb, also has 4 assists on the season.
Last year, he split the campaign between the CCHL2 Alexandria Glens and the U18 Hawkesbury Hawks, recording a combined 38 points.
Since the January 12 contest, the CCHL Hawks have skated to a pair of wins, beating Kanata 4-2 and blanking Brockville 3-0.
Hawkesbury currently sits second in the Yzerman Division, with a record of 26 wins, 16 regulation losses, and 2 overtime losses.
Hawkesbury’s junior ‘A’ hockey team is on a roll, riding an eight-game win streak. The squad’s most recent triumph came Sunday, when the Hawks blanked the Pembroke Lumber Kings 4-0.
The road contest saw Mathieu Sabourin (of Alexandria) notch two points, including a goal. Jeremy Quesnel, also from the Alexandria area, also scored, as did Brendan McCarthy and Kris Pietroniro. Assists also went to Luke Grainger (2), Evan Johnston, Sean E. Clarke, Patrick Calahan, and Sebastien Paquette.
Goaltender Mathieu Chenier stopped all 20 shots directed his way.
Sabourin was named the game’s first star, Chenier the third.
Two Hawks were named CCHL performers of the month for December.
In the league’s announcement, Grainger, a 20-year-old from Beaconsfield, Quebec is noted to have picked up points in all eight Hawkesbury last month, “while adding multi-point efforts in five games, including a hat trick and 1st-star performance against Ottawa. In all, he recorded 17 points to lead all players in December.
He’s committed to playing NCAA hockey stateside at Western Michigan University.
Chenier, who hails from Hammond, “posted a 5-0-1 record in December, while sporting a 1.81 goals against average and 0.938 save percentage, allowing 2 goals or fewer in five of his six starts. After making 37-saves in an overtime loss to Navan, Chenier reeled off five straight victories, stopping 129 of 137 shots.”
The rookie of the month for December was Vincent Labelle of the Rockland Nationals.
Hawkesbury’s next game action is set for January 9, when the squad will travel to Kemptville. The Hawks will complete the home-and-home the next night. Both contests are 7:30 p.m. starts.
The other county connection to the squad is rookie defenceman Felix Sauve.
Alexandria’s Mathieu Sabourin, playing for the Hawkesbury Hawks of the CCHL, scored his first career junior ‘A’ hockey goal on Friday night, when his team beat the Pembroke Lumber Kings 5-2, at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex.
The 19-year-old forward, who was named the game’s third star, scored at the 3:10 mark of the second period, assisted by Owen Gonter and Sean E. Clarke. His tally drew the Hawks even at the time, 2-2, in the game, starting Hawkesbury’s run of four unanswered, en route to the victory.
The team also features two other players who call Alexandria home: Jeremy Quesnel and Felix Sauve.
Sabourin, who wears number 7 for the Hawks, has played in seven games thus far this season with the team. Last winter, he skated in 49 contests with the CCHL2 Char-Lan Rebels, recording 48 points and 73 penalty minutes.
The Hawks currently have a record of 13 wins, 12 regulation losses, and 1 overtime defeat, for third place in the Yzerman Division.
Alexandria’s Brandon Barillaro, 23, has signed to play university hockey with the Plymouth State Panthers this season, after two years skating for the University of Wisconsin – Superior Yellow Jackets.
The 5 ft. 10 in., 185 lb. forward played his junior hockey primarily with the CCHL Hawkesbury Hawks, though he spent the better part of the 2013-14 season with the CCHL2 Alexandria Glens. He attended Holy Trinity for high school.
He skated in 34 NCAA Division III games with the Yellow Jackets and now joins another Glengarrian, North Lancaster’s Simon Besner, at Plymouth State.
Besner, 22, is in his second season with the Panthers. As a freshman, the 6 ft. 1 in., 205 lb. blueliner recorded 4 points in 18 games.
Alexandria’s Jeremy Quesnel, playing for the CCHL Hawkesbury Hawks, was named first star of the game on October 4, when his junior ‘A’ hockey team skated to an 8-4 victory over the Rockland Nationals, at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex.
Quesnel, an 18-year-old centreman, scored two goals, including one on a power play, and added one assist, in the Hawks big home-ice win.
On the season, his first in Hawkesbury after being traded to the club from Cornwall during the summer, Quesnel has chalked up 7 points in 13 games thus far.
Other Hawks scoring in the game were Matt Gasuik, Evan Johnston, Dovar Tinling, Zachary Lefebvre, Patrick Callahan, and Azzaro Tinling.
The next night, the Hawks lost 5-1 in Ottawa (to the Jr. Senators), the lone Hawkesbury goal netted by D. Tinling.
Entering play this week, the Hawks sit third in the Yzerman Division, with a 0.538 winning percentage.