Tag Archives: hockey

Tighter COVID-19 rules to impact sports in Ottawa, Toronto

The so-called hot spots for COVID-19 cases – Ottawa, Toronto, and Peel Region – have seen a number of new restrictions imposed by the provincial government. The new rules affect many aspects of society, including sports, which now will be prohibited from any scrimmages, limited only to training with physical distancing.

Ontario government logo

From the Ford government announcement… “In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Public Health Measures Table, and local medical officers of health and other health experts, the Ontario government is introducing additional targeted public health measures in the Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions. These modified Stage 2 restrictions will be for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed on an ongoing basis.”

The new rules, for these regions, will take effect on Saturday, October 10, at 12:01 a.m.

In terms of sports, the rules state, “Limiting team sports to training sessions (no games or scrimmages).”

These three regions will also see social gathering numbers reduced to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, along with the closure of bars/restaurants for indoor service, gyms and fitness centres, gaming establishments, cinemas, performing arts centres, spectator areas at racing facilities, and more.

For the full details, please see the government press release here.

These new measures do not, at this time, apply to our region, remains in the government’s Stage 3 plan.

Earlier this week, MPP Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of heritage, sport, tourism, and culture industries, was quoted in a CBC News story about the provincial government’s plans for hockey, specifically the top junior league, the OHL. In the piece, MacLeod was quoted as stating that the OHL will have to “remove physical contact, including bodychecking, if it’s to have a 2020-21 season.”

According to MacLeod, as quoted in the story, the OHL is not interested in playing under a bubble format as the NHL did for its 2020 playoffs. The OHL had already delayed the new season, tentatively aiming for a December 1 start (unlike Quebec’s major junior hockey league which began regular play this month and has experienced COVID-19 positive cases).

The CBC News story about MacLeod and the OHL further indicated that the provincial government would require the OHL and all sports organizations in Ontario to remove close physical contact amongst players. Also complicating issues for the league is the fact two teams are located in current COVID-19 hot spots, while three other clubs play out of USA cities.

Regarding local junior hockey leagues, the EOJHL (junior ‘B’) has begin team-versus-team scrimmages without body contact, as has the CCHL (junior ‘A’), following the Hockey Eastern Ontario return-to-play policy and its high-performance league guidelines.

The so-called HEO Stage 3(a) allows “our players an opportunity to safely continue their development by participating in modified-for-COVID non-contact game play.” In addition to the CCHL and EOJHL, this applies to the HEO U18 ‘AAA’ and HEO Minor ‘AAA’ leagues.

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Sold-out scrimmage tonight in Alexandria to feature Glens, Rebels

Junior ‘B’ hockey action returns to the ice at the Glengarry Sports Palace tonight, where the Alexandria Glens will host the Char-Lan Rebels in a modified scrimmage, the first exhibition play of the 2020-12 EOJHL season.

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Both clubs have been training independently for more than a month, awaiting the green light for game play. However, current COVID-19 restrictions limit what can be done.

As such, the Glens and Rebels will skate in a non-contact scrimmage, with regular rules and timing applying, in front of a limited number of spectators, all of whom were required to by tickets in advance, online.

General manager Derick Viau tells me that the club was limited to selling 50 tickets. Anyone showing up tonight at the rink without a ticket will not be permitted entry.

Those attending should be aware of the Glens’ spectator safety policy that has been enacted due to COVID-19 protocols.

  • Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
  • Please arrive early to accommodate for the check-in procedures that will be in place each game, which include temperature checks and COVID-19 screening questions.
  • Non-medical face masks are mandatory for all spectators while attending Glens home games. Masks will be available for purchase at each game.
  • Masks must be worn at all times, unless you are seated.
  • Please purchase your tickets in advance, online at tickets.alexandriaglens.com to guarantee your entry into the game, and prevent long wait times to enter the arena at check-in. No tickets will be sold at the arena until further notice.
  • Members of the same household may sit together; however, members of different households must maintain a 2-metre distance at all times and sit next to a socially-distanced marker.
  • Please do not leave your seat during the game unless you are going directly to the washroom or exiting the facility.
  • A “No Re-Entry” policy will be in effect throughout each home game.
  • All staff, players, and spectators are required to self-screen.
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms or feeling unwell, please stay home.
  • At the end of the game, fans will be directed to exit the arena at specified intervals. This will be guided by announcements over the PA system and Glens’ ushers to ensure everyone can maintain physical-distancing measures.
  • Any fans that are not following the social distancing guidelines will be asked to leave.
  • Group gathering on the concourse will not be permitted.
  • All aisle seats will be unavailable.
  • Standing areas for viewing will not be available.

Tonight’s game will be broadcast online, on the Hockey TV platform, with Liam Arkinson providing play-by-play commentary. Start time is set for 8:15 p.m.

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EOSHL expands to eight teams for upcoming season

Should a 2020-21 senior ‘A’ hockey season take place in our region, the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League will have eight teams on the ice, up from four in its inaugural go-round last winter.

The newest club added, announced this week, is the Pontiac Comets, which will play out of Fort-Coulonge, Quebec. The team is owned by Danick Boisvert and Sebastien Bonnerot.

EOSHL logos
Eight teams now comprise the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League – senior ‘A’

The Comets organization previously skated in the Quebec-based senior ‘A’ hockey league of which the Cornwall Prowlers were also a member before the creation in 2019 of the EOSHL.

League president Mitch Gagne describes the ownership duo as “two great leaders at the top of an established organization.”

In its first season of play, the EOSHL featured the Prowlers (winners of the championship), the Deseronto Bulldogs, the Maxville Millionaires, and the West Carleton Rivermen (regular-season champs and playoff runners-up).

The Millionaires were taken over by the league at the conclusion of the season, with new ownership subsequently found, as the Maxville team was renamed the Mustangs.

During the early stretch of the off-season, the league announced new entrants: the Glengarry Pipers (out of Alexandria), the Frontenac Phantoms (from Godfrey), and the Smiths Falls Rideaus.

Regarding play for a 2020-21 season, the league announcement says, “EOSHL owners have met a couple of times via video calls over the last month and are keeping optimistic about a shortened season to be played in the near future.”

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Senior A Prowlers lure Cloutier from LNAH

Last month, the Cornwall Prowlers of the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League convinced Chris Cloutier to sign with the senior ‘A’ club.

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Prowlers graphic showcasing Chris Cloutier

Coach and general manager Mitch Gagne says on the addition of the 37-year-old defenceman, the Prowlers “lacked some grit and physical play last season and needed to fill that gap.”

The veteran blueliner has been playing in Quebec’s semi-professional league, the LNAH, with the Pétroliers du Nord. Last winter, he suited up for 23 games, amassing 144 penalty minutes and zero points.

“After a long chat with Chris about needing him to play hockey more than the shenanigans as he can play the game not just the tough guy role, he committed [to Cornwall’s senior ‘A’ team] due to the uncertainty of the LNAH this season,” explains Gagne.

As a semi-pro league, the LNAH relies on strong spectator attendance numbers for revenue to play salaries.

Meanwhile, the EOSHL, an amateur league, does, of course, have expenses too, and will need some fans in the stands in order to operate this winter. As of now, it is a waiting game on that, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing.

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Maxville Mustangs golf tournament supports NG firefighters

On September 12, the Maxville Mustangs of the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League (senior ‘A’) held a golf tournament, with a portion of the proceeds going to support the North Glengarry Fire Department, Station 3 in Maxville.

From the tourney, the team was able to donate $600 to the fire station.

Representatives of the Mustangs visited the station on September 21 to present the donation cheque.

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Members of North Glengarry’s fire department with representatives from the Maxville Mustangs. (Mustangs photo)

Roster news

On the player signing front, the Stangs recently inked a pair of impact skaters.

Philippe Pelletier Leblanc, a 23-year-old left-winger from Gatineau, played his junior hockey in la belle province, skating in the QMJHL and QJAAAHL. Afterwards, he was a member of teams in France and CIS (Canadian university, now U-Sports). Last season, he was with the Maniwaki Forestiers of the LHSAO. He’s billed as a”very fast and skilful forward” with a fine “scoring touch.”

Dominik Blain-Dupuis also last skated for the Maniwaki Forestiers. His hockey career includes stints in Quebec major junior and ‘AAA’ junior. He’s tagged as a “quick player with a good vision” who brings “a winning attitude” and “some toughness.”

The Mustangs compete in the EOSHL, which is looking to begin its second season soon. Nearby rivals includes the Glengarry Pipers (Alexandria) and the Cornwall Prowlers.

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Alexandria Glens hold training camp in Hawkesbury

The Alexandria Glens held their 2020-21 training camp in Hawkesbury over the weekend, as head coach Carl Robillard put his signees and prospects through their paces.

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Skaters on the ice at the Alexandria Glens training camp. (photo courtesy of Alexandria Glens)

General manger Derick Viau tells me there was a solid turnout of 52 hockey players at the September 18-20 camp, held at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex.

Following the conclusion of the sessions, Robillard took to Twitter, posting, “Well, that concludes our 2020-2021 training camp. What an incredible turn out and battles at every positions. Very hard decisions made with more to come. Glens Fans … get ready to cheer on a very fast and talented hockey team. Cannot wait to get this started.”

This season marks Robillard’s first as the Glens bench boss. He is also head coach of the Eastern Ontario Wild ‘AAA’ U15 (formerly called major bantam) team.

For more on Alexandria’s junior ‘B’ team, see this previous post. I also have a story about the Wild here.

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Junior B Rebels announce player signings as training camp gets going

The Char-Lan Rebels of the EOJHL opened training camp recently in Finch, with ice unavailable at the team’s home rink in Williamstown. Meanwhile, off the ice, the club was busy signing players for the upcoming (hopefully) season.

A local teen, Andrew Dixon, has committed to the Rebs for the 2020-21 campaign. The 18-year-old forward is a product of the Seaway Valley Rapids ‘AA’ program and was a strong contributor to the squad at Char-Lan High School.

Another signing was Brant Woodside. The 20-year-old has been attending the University of Ottawa the past two years, following stints with the CCHL Cornwall Colts and the U18 Colts. During the 2016-17 season, he captured the HEO championship with his Colts squad.

Woodside was drafted into the CCHL in 2015, 32nd overall by Cumberland Grads.

Char-Lan dropped the puck on its 2020-21 training camp on September 10 in Finch before moving on to sessions in Cornwall. The team is scheduled to hit the ice in Williamstown this week. For more, see this previous Rebels story.

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Junior C hockey league hopeful for season start December 1

The region’s junior ‘C’ hockey league, the National Capital Junior Hockey League, is hoping to be able to drop the puck on a new season, beginning December 1.

NCJHL logo

Last season came to an abrupt stop on March 12, with playoffs underway. Initially a suspension, the 2019-20 season was officially cancelled on March 14.

The Vankleek Hill Cougars were East Division regular-season champions.

Planning for a 2020-21 season has been underway for some time. Representatives of the 10 teams of the NCJHL met on August 17, with all “teams expressing their intention to continue active participation in the league.”

As noted by the league, current provincial health restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic limit hockey to 4-on-4 play with no contact, “with strict rules relating to physical distancing, maximum number of players on the ice as well as how many people are able to attend games.”

“Our main concern always has been, and will continue to be, the health safety of our players, staff, officials, and fans. We will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.”

NCJHL announcement
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Junior B Glens seek billet families, announce player signings

Would you have space to house a member of the Alexandria Glens junior ‘B’ hockey team for the 2020-21 season? If so, the team would like to hear from you, and you will be compensated for “opening up your home to our players.”

To express your interest or for further information, please contact the team’s general manager, Derick Viau, at info@alexandriaglens.com or via the Glens’ Facebook page.

As head coach Carl Robillard puts it, “Please support our community team and become an away-from-home family for these young athletes looking for an opportunity to develop and play the sport they love while working towards online school.”

On the player front, Viau recently announced two further signings.

Keyshawn Francis
Keyshawn Francis (submitted photos)

Gatineau’s Keyshawn Francis played with the LHPS École Mont-Bleu last season, notching 14 points in 21 games. The 18-year-old is a forward.

Another forward signed is Alexandre Saül. Hailing from Montreal, he skated for the USHS North Yarmouth Academy last winter. The 18-year-old checks in at 6 ft. 3 in., 190 lb. Last year, he scored 11 points in 33 games at the US prep school.

Looking ahead, the Glens have joined the Char-Lan Rebels in a golf tournament, set for September 12, in Lancaster.

The 2020-21 team camp is scheduled to run September 18-20, in Hawkesbury. “Attending a Main Camp is the first step in becoming a Glens player and competing in the EOJHL. Our coaching and scouting staff use these camps to evaluate new talent that will compete to join our team for the upcoming season and to build new relationships with future prospects.”

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Spink twins commit to German pro hockey season

The 27-year-old Spink twins, Tyson and Tylor, have committed to playing the 2020-21 professional hockey season in Germany, as members of the Schwenninger Wild Wings, of the DEL (German elite league).

Last season, the men skated in Finland with the Ässät team. The season was stopped in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Spinks travelled back to Glengarry, following its subsequent cancellation.

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The Spinks bid adieu to Finland at the end of the 2019-20 season. (submitted photo)

Tyson, a 5 ft. 10 in., 185 lb. forward, notched 35 points in 50 games with Ässät, while Tylor, a centreman, counted 32 points in 52 matches.

Previously they both played in Sweden for two years, and prior to that skated in the ECHL and AHL, following stellar NCAA careers at Colgate University.

Their new club, from Schwenningen am Neckar in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, has a storied history, founded in 1904, is an original member of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). The Wild Wings play in the Helios Arena, which has a capacity of 6,193, and the club’s colours are blue and white.

Niklas Sundblad, head coach of the Wild Wings, got familiar with the Spinks when he was involved with their Swedish team, Örebro.

He describes the hockey twins as “well-educated guys who are passionate about what they do. As twins, they have a kind of natural chemistry that they also bring on the ice. Coupled with their speed, they are an important addition to our team.” (translated from the German original)

To read the full story about the Spinks joining the Wild Wings, please see this webpage (in German).

On the signing, Tylor is quoted as saying, “It’s always good when you come to a new place and meet familiar faces. We know what Sunny [Niklas Sundblad] expects from us, and he knows what to expect from us. We will have the same attitude again, work hard, but still go on the ice with a smile and try to improve ourselves and with it the team.”

Tyson tells me that he and his brother plan to travel to Germany in mid-September to join their new team.

In an abbreviated 2019-20 season, the Wild Wings had a record of 14-32-3-3 through 52 games.

The Spinks are sons of Kathy and Kenton, of South Glengarry.

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