Dominic Decoeur is back where it all began, as the coach and educator has returned to work at Alexandria’s École secondaire catholique Le Relais as the high school’s vice-principal for the 2020-21 school year.
The Cornwall resident began his teaching career in Alexandria, where he became well-known for his leadership of the school’s boys hockey program.
Translated from French, Decoeur posted on the school’s Facebook page, “It is with great pleasure and great pride that I return to Le Relais after having had the opportunity to teach here from 2007 to 2018. I wish to continue to forge collaborative links with students, parents, and the Glengarry community.”
On the coaching side, he led Les Rapides to a string of successes on the ice, highlighted by numerous provincial medals from the Tournoi Franco Ontarien, an annual competition amongst teams from Ontario’s French-language high schools.
In 2018, he left the Alexandria school for a post at Cornwall’s La Citadelle, where he served the past two years as vice-principal.
On his return to Le Relais, Decoeur tells me, “Really happy … It’ll make me grow.”
“Un mot de notre direction adjointe. C’est avec grand plaisir et beaucoup de fierté que je reviens au Relais après avoir eu l’opportunité d’enseigner ici de 2007 à 2018. Je souhaite continuer à tisser des liens de collaboration avec les élèves, les parents et la communauté de Glengarry. Avec toute l’équipe du Relais, notre rôle demeure de tenter d’être partenaire de l’élève dans sa construction identitaire, miser sur les processus qui le mèneront à être un apprenant pour la vie, et développer des compétences essentielles pour relever les défis de sa génération. Au plaisir de créer un partenariat avec vous chers Rapides et à demain!”
Dominic Decoeur original statement on Facebook (in French)
Following on the heels of an announcement by OFSAA that cancelled all provincial high school sports championships for fall 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the region’s sports body announced the cancellation of all EOSSAA event for fall 2020 as well.
Traditionally, the fall schedule of high school sports championships includes cross-country running, girls basketball, boys volleyball, football, and golf.
As for the possibility of any form of sports at schools this fall, I am told that inter-board events definitely will not be happening. There is a possibility of some activities within a board, but it is more likely that sports will only take place in a limited form within individual schools.
The UCDSB, for example, in its return-to-school document states, “Inter-school sports will not be occurring at this time. Schools may, however, offer co-curricular (such as some intramural sports activities), if cohorting requirements can be maintained and physical distancing is possible. Areas that are used must be able to be cleaned between cohorts.”
The region’s English Catholic board, the CDSBEO, notes in its document, “Sports continue to be on hold until the Ministry of Education, in consultation with public health authorities, indicate that it is safe for sports to resume.” However, the board adds that it recognizes sports to be an “integral part of the school experience for many students” and will aim to “resume sports and extracurricular activities that can safely continue based on input from the Ministry of Education and local public medical officers of health.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to loom over us, the Ontario government recently announced its plan for students to return to schools in September, with a brief mention of sports and recreation activities.
However, specifically on schools, OFSAA, the province’s governing body for high school athletics, has announced there will be no Ontario championships this fall. Traditionally, the slate would include golf, cross-country running, football, girls basketball, and boys volleyball.
Regarding EOSSAA, the regional body for high school sports, no official announcement has been made, though I have been told that they will “follow OFSAA’s direction.”
Locally, the SDGAA and PRSSAA have not made official statements either. Marc Poirier, head of athletics at Holy Trinity (which competes in the SD&G league) and Éric Crête, a coach at Le Relais (Prescott-Russell league), tell me they have not heard of any local planning.
I’m told that it’s possible individual boards may allow some sort of sports/recreation, in line with government direction, which suggests activities can only take place within a school (i.e. n inter-school competition), whilst maintaining physically distancing and enhanced cleaning. Whether boards and schools decide to take on the risk remains to be seen.
Across the country, university sports have been cancelled in three of four leagues (Only Quebec still has plans for competition). In Ontario, college sports this fall have also been cancelled.
Despite not being able to present awards at a school assembly, the Tagwi Warriors have continued the tradition of recognizing their best athletes of the season, announcing awards this year remotely, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amongst the Warriors’ big honours, the OFSAA Colin Hood Awards were presented to Makenna Brownlee (female student), Schuyler Schellenberg (male student), and Marc Mainville (coach).
Top Academics and Athletics recognition went to Heath Patterson (male) and Ellie Adams (female). The 2019-20 Top Senior Athlete honours went to Rylan Iwachniuk and Emiley Norman, while Top Junior Athlete kudos were presented to Zack Speck-Meek and Kiera Speck-Meek.
Individual sports awards: Ellie Adams (senior girls basketball MVP), Landon Brownlee (junior boys basketball Spirit of Tagwi Award), Makenna Brownlee (senior girls basketball MVP, varsity girls hockey MVP), Brooklyn Canham (junior girls volleyball MVP), Giovanni Cecchinato (senior boys volleyball MVP), Grace Folk (senior girls volleyball MVP), Morgan Gallinger (senior girls basketball MVP), Skyler Grabs (midget boys volleyball Spirit of Tagwi Award), William Holmes (varsity boys hockey Spirit of Tagwi Award), Rylan Iwachniuk (senior boys basketball MVP), IreLynn MacKillican (junior girls basketball Spirit of Tagwi Award), Caitlyn McIntosh (cross-country running Spirit of Tagwi Award), Megan McMahon (senior girls volleyball Spirit of Tagwi Award), Gavin Nowry (curling MVP), Heath Patterson (junior boys volleyball MVP), Andy Paul (cross-country running Spirit of Tagwi Award), Ryan Pawlowsky (varsity boys hockey MVP), Hunter Pilon (senior boys basketball Spirit of Tagwi Award), Schuyler Schellenberg (senior boys volleyball Spirit of Tagwi Award), Kiera Speck-Meek (junior girls basketball MVP), Zack Speck-Meek (junior boys basketball MVP), Charly Stinson (senior girls basketball MVP), Landen Sweet (midget boys volleyball MVP), Maiavia Ware (junior girls volleyball Spirit of Tagwi Award), Cullan Wheeler (junior boys volleyball Spirit of Tagwi Award), Lorne Wheeler (junior boys volleyball Spirit of Tagwi Award), Sierra Woodside (varsity girls hockey Spirit of Tagwi Award).
All high school Ontario-wide championships scheduled for this spring under the auspices of OFSAA have been cancelled, as the organization announced today.
Our region typically has athletes competing at the provincial track and field championships, and often we have a team or two battling in soccer as well, but this year that won’t happen.
The Glengarry Gaels boys soccer team won OFSAA gold in 2019, triumphing at the tournament held in Ancaster, while the girls from Le Relais captured silver, also in Ancaster.
Gaels boys team head coach Glen Campbell told me in February that he had 13 team members back this year from last season’s provincial championship squad. The boys had been conducting informal sessions during lunch breaks prior to the March Break and ensuing shutdown of schools due to COVID-19.
With the cancellation of the provincial competitions this year, Glengarry will have to wait another season to try to defend its title.
In the March 31 announcement from the OFSAA president, Nick Rowe stated, “As we continue to cope in these challenging times with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is with great disappointment that we announce Tuesday the cancellation of the remaining 2020 spring OFSAA championships and festivals.
“On behalf of the OFSAA Executive Council and all of our staff, we are thankful for the commitment and passion of all student-athletes, coaches, convenors, and volunteer host organizing committees to this point in the school year. Volunteers are the driving force in the planning efforts and execution of these events. A sincere thank you to each and every one of the volunteers across the province.
“As we endure this uncertain coronavirus health crisis, OFSAA will continue to follow the direction of public health experts and government agencies.
“We eagerly look forward to when we can safely get back to the classroom and when sport returns to our school communities.
“Stay safe and healthy.”
This year’s boys ‘A’ soccer tournament was scheduled to be held in London, while the girls event was slated for Perth. Track and field was booked for Toronto.
At this stage, there is no confirmation on when or if high school sports will resume locally.
While the boys competed at the separate Ontario championships, Glengarry’s mixed and girls rinks battled at EOSSAA, in Pembroke and Eganville.
The mixed team of Virginia Vander Byl (lead), Rowan McPherson (second), Abbey Lowe (third), and Matthew Bill (skip), coached by Lindsey Howes (coach), automatically qualified for EOSSAA, as there was no competition at the SD&G bonspiel. At the regional event, the Gaels nabbed bronze, in a four-team pool.
They started round-robin play at the Eganville Curling Club against Holy Cross Catholic School from Kemptville. GD got off to a slow start but came back in the 4th end to score a single, making the score 5-1. The Gaels stole a point in the 5th end, while Holy Cross took 3 in the 6th. The teams shook hands at this point, on a final 8-2 score.
Glengarry’s second game set the Gaels against St. Mary’s Catholic School from Brockville. This game had some great shots. GD opened the match with a 3. St. Mary’s scored 1 in the 2nd and 1 in the 3rd to tighten things up, but the Gaels responded with singles in the 4th and the 5th. St. Mary’s came back to score 2 in the 6th and 3 in the 7th to end the game with the win, 8-4.
In the third round-robin game, Glengarry tangled with Opeongo DHS from Douglas. It was a tough game, where the Gaels conceded after 6 ends, with a final score of 10-1.
Back in Eganville, Glengarry faced Holy Cross again, this time for the bronze medal. It was a back-and-forth game. HC opened with a single. Then GD scored 2 in the second and 1 in the 3rd. HC came back with 4 in the 4th end and 1 in the 5th. Glengarry scored 3 in the 6th to tie the game 6-6. HC was forced to 1 in the 7th, so GD had the hammer for the final end. With a nice draw to the 4-foot, the Gaels scored two for the bronze medal. The final score was 8-7.
Meanwhile, the girls, who were undefeated at the SD&G championships held in Cornwall and Morrisburg, competed at EOSSAA, which had two pools of four teams each.
Glengarry opened round-robin action at the Pembroke CC playing Opeongo High School from Douglas. The girls played a great game. GD scored 2 in the first end and a single in the second end. In the third end, OHS scored 1. In the 4th, the Gaels picked up 2 more, going on to add a single in 5th and 3 more in the 6th as the squad extended the lead to 9-1. OHS took 2 in the 7th, and GD finished off the game with 2 more points, winning 11-3.
In their second game, Glengarry’s girls tangled with South Grenville DHS from Prescott. This was a closer contest. GD scored a single in the first, and SG took singles in the 2nd and 3rd. The Gaels came back with 2 points in the 4th, while Prescott nabbed 3 in the 5th. GD rebounded to score 4 in the 6th, and SG took 1 in the 7th. The score was 7-6 for GD coming home with hammer. The Gaels clinched the victory, scoring 2 in the final end to win 9-6.
Their third round-robin game saw the Gaels play Notre Dame Catholic High School from Carleton Place, in Eganville. This was a back-and-forth game. GD made some great shots to tie the game in the 8th end (7-7) and force an extra end. Notre Dame came through to score one with the hammer to hand Glengarry its first loss.
In their semifinal, GD struggled to find their weight and readjust to conditions back in Pembroke. The Gaels lost to North Dundas, in a rematch of the SDG final, with a final score of 8-2 after 6 ends.
Still on the ice in Pembroke to close out the bonspiel, the Gaels had a rematch with Notre Dame. GD opened the scoring with a single. ND scored 2 in the 2nd to take the lead, but Glengarry replied with 2 in 3rd. ND got a single in the 4th to tie the game 3-3. GD scored one in the 5th to take a brief lead until the ND skip made a beautiful tap on her last shot in the 6th to score 5 points. GD scored a single in the 7th to bring the score to 8-5.
Glengarry ended its run with a fourth-place EOSSAA result.