NHL at the quarter pole

by Rod Mawhood

Updating all local and IceDogs connections. Pictured is Carter Verhaeghe. The former Niagara IceDogs captain has an impressive six goals, 15 points in 19 games this season as part of the league-leading Florida Panthers. Photo credit: Icon Sportswire/Mark LoMoglio   By the end of this upcoming weekend, almost every NHL team will have played at […]

Carter Verhaeghe

The Beautiful Game continues to grow, including here in Niagara

by Rod Mawhood

Canadian men’s national team has vaulted 40 spots in the world rankings over the past five years. Pictured Canada plays Mexico in wintry conditions with snowy sidelines in Edmonton last week. Photo credit: Boston Globe   It was a week ago tonight that Canada Soccer took another step forward in making history, winning 2-1 over […]

soccer players

Pitcher Robbie Ray at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. Photo credit: Sportsnet    What a difference a year makes. Robbie Ray is about to become a rich man.  Not to say that his one-year $8-million dollar contract this past season was nothing to turn his nose up to, but Ray now has ‘Cy Young Award’ winner beside […]

Robbie Ray

World Series Champion started his baseball career in St. Catharines

by Rod Mawhood

Then-Atlanta Braves trainer Mike Frostad (left) comes off the field with Brian McCann (center) and manager Brian Snitker during a game against the Miami Marlins in April 2019. Photo credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/John Amis   Twenty-six years after starting his professional baseball career in St. Catharines, Mike Frostad can now say he’s a World Series […]

Niagara River Lions head coach and general manager Victor Raso. The former CEBL Coach of the Year, along with co-general manager Antwi Atuahene, will return for another season after re-signing with the team earlier this week. Photo credit: CEBL    The Niagara River Lions have announced that head coach and general manager Victor Raso will […]

Victor Raso

Ex-NHL goaltender and coach back providing guidance in Niagara

by Rod Mawhood

Long-time Detroit Red Wings goalie coach Jim Bedard offering instruction to attendees at a 2018 elite training camp in Rochester, NY. Photo credit: Twitter/Legacy Global Sports    Talk about full circle. He began coaching goaltenders in Niagara 27 years ago. Three Stanley Cups later, Jim Bedard is back in the region he calls home doing what […]


Eichel Vegas bound

by Rod Mawhood

Sabres had no choice but to deal disgruntled forward. Photo credit: Boston Globe   Finally. After a public feud that lasted eight months, he left the Buffalo Sabres no choice. Disgruntled forward, and former captain, Jack Eichel was dealt to the Vegas Golden Knights along with a 2023 third round draft pick for forwards Peyton […]

Jack Eichel

Sledge hockey league set to slide into Niagara

by Rod Mawhood

Grimsby, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Welland will all ice teams. Photo credit: Winnipeg Free Press/Ruth Bonneville   A new hockey league is set to take to the ice in Niagara. In fact, four municipalities will feature teams in the Niagara Sledge Hockey League.  All Niagara residents 13 or over, or 12 and under with […]

sled hockey

Ho-Sang feels ‘understood’ in Toronto

by Rod Mawhood

Former Niagara IceDog loves playing in his hometown. Pictured is Ho-Sang in pre-season action as a Maple Leaf before signing a deal with the team’s AHL affiliate earlier this month. Photo credit: Toronto Marlies   His play not only garnered the attention of the hockey world, but a few of his words also stood out.  […]

Ho-Sang on the ice

New era begins for Toronto Raptors

by Rod Mawhood

Raptors’ point guard Fred VanVleet. Many view the 27-year-old as Kyle Lowry’s natural successor and hope the sixth-year player can lead Toronto into the next era. Photo credit: AP/Mary Altaffer   The Toronto Raptors first regular season home game in Toronto in 600 days didn’t exactly go as planned. The Raptors tipped off their season […]


Coaching mentorship programs having big impact on pair of local athletes

by Rod Mawhood

Carley Blomberg in action as a Brock Badger. Blomberg is one of a pair of Niagara athletes to be recently awarded the opportunity to take part in a selective coaching mentorship program. Photo credit: Brock Athletics   Many athletes consider making the transition to coaching, but few do, or at least get the opportunity to […]

Carley Blomberg on the ice

Two historic lacrosse organizations to merge

by Rod Mawhood

The St. Catharines Jr. A Athletics. The organization will merge with the city’s Jr. B lacrosse club, the St. Catharines Spartans. Photo credit: St. Catharines Athletics   Quick, name the oldest sporting franchise in Niagara? Give up? It dates back to 1877, believe it or not – it’s the St. Catharines Jr. A Athletics Lacrosse […]

St Catharines A's

NHL preview: four Niagara based players discuss their new teams, mental health

by Rod Mawhood

St. Catharines native Dougie Hamilton. After three seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes and an eventful free agency, Hamilton signed a seven-year, $63-million contract with the New Jersey Devils at the end of July. Photo credit: USA Today Sports/James Guillory   As the puck gets set to drop on another NHL season, four Niagara based players […]

Dougie Hamilton

Officials and Games mascot Shelly announce the 2022 torch relay program at Lock 3 beside the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre, Oct. 6, 2021. Photo credit: Niagara 2022 Host Society   When you think of Niagara, what first comes to mind? Wineries. Yes.  The casinos. For sure.  But what about the Welland Canal? An engineering […]

summer games torch relay

IceDogs ready to bark in 2021

by Rod Mawhood

Niagara IceDogs in exhibition action against the Oshawa Generals at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Sept. 20, 2021. Photo credit: Niagara IceDogs/Vivid Eye Photography   A month-long training camp that started with close to 70 players, dozens of cuts, and six exhibition games is in the books, as the Niagara IceDogs are set to […]

ice dogs

Pair of Niagara River Lions sign NBA contracts

by Rod Mawhood

Xavier Sneed in action as a Niagara River Lion. Sneed is one of two players from the St. Catharines-based basketball team to sign an NBA contract this week. Photo credit: CEBL/Matthew Winick   The Niagara River Lions have quickly garnered respect across the basketball world. The River Lions, who play out of the Canadian Elite […]

Sneed on the court

GOJHL hockey season underway

by Rod Mawhood

Six Niagara based teams make up eight-team Golden Horseshoe Conference. Pictured: the Welland Jr. Canadians get ready for the season earlier this month. Photo credit: Twitter/Welland Jr. Canadians   Frank Pietrangelo breathed a sigh of relief Friday night. The Niagara Falls Canucks were finally back on the ice, playing a real, meaningful game.  The current […]

Jr Canadians

Bills rebound in South Beach

by Rod Mawhood

Buffalo Bills star quarterback Josh Allen throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Photo credit: USA Today Sports/Sam Navarro   The Buffalo Bills needed a bounce back win in Miami in Week 2, and that’s exactly what they got Sunday, dominating the Dolphins 35-0. The Bills, who dropped a 23-16 […]

John Allen throwing the ball

High school sports back around the region

by Rod Mawhood

St. Catharines’ Governor Simcoe Secondary School football team in action against Greater Fort Erie Secondary School, Sept. 2018. Photo credit: Facebook/Governor Simcoe   It certainly seems longer than the 18-plus months it’s been, but a long-standing tradition has returned to Niagara-area high schools. Sports! The Covid-19 pandemic halted organized sports at all levels, including at […]

high school football

Canadian tennis has officially arrived

by Rod Mawhood

Montreal native Leylah Fernandez returns a shot during the women’s singles championship final at the US Open, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Photo credit: USTA/Garrett Ellwood   A finals appearance in the women’s championship. A semi-final appearance in the men’s championship. And almost forgotten, and certainly not in the same conversation as the men’s and women’s […]

Leylah Fernandez

Jackfish host Baycats to begin playoff run

by Rod Mawhood

Welland Jackfish in action during the team’s inaugural season. Photo credit: Facebook/Welland Jackfish   As Welland Jackfish fans continue to flock to Welland Stadium in record numbers the team began its second playoff run, since arriving in the Rose City, last night at home against the Barrie Baycats.  The (15-15) Jackfish finished fourth in the seven […]

Jackfish at bat

Bills the class of the AFC East once again

by Rod Mawhood

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis (right) celebrates a touchdown with quarterback John Allen in the team’s final preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Aug. 28, 2021. Photo credit: AP/Adrian Kraus   As the 101st NFL season is set to kickoff Thursday night in Tampa Bay, when the Dallas Cowboys visit the Buccaneers, we know […]

Allen and Davis

Hajrullahu still looking to find an NFL home

by Rod Mawhood

St. Catharines kicker Lirim Hajrullahu hoists the Grey Cup after scoring the championship-winning field goal as a Toronto Argonaut, Nov. 26, 2017. Photo credit: Alex D’Addese   The last 18 months have not been normal for all of us, but for St. Catharines’ Lirim Hajrullahu they’ve been downright daunting.  And perhaps Hajrullahu’s background has given […]

Lirim Hajrullahu hoists the Grey Cup

With season six weeks away, Niagara IceDogs begin training camp

by Rod Mawhood

Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara IceDogs   There’s been three words missing from local’s vocabulary the past almost 18 months: “Go Dogs Go!” Yes, the Niagara IceDogs last played a game, and hit the ice, at Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines on March 8, 2020.  However, that changed this week as the IceDogs opened training camp […]

a hockey helmet

2021 NLL Hall of Fame class has a real Niagara feel to it

by Rod Mawhood

 St. Catharines native Steve Toll during the final season of his playing career with the Edmonton Rush in 2012. Toll and friend and fellow St. Catharines native Pat McCready are both part of the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame 2021 class. Photo credit: Twitter/Panther City Lacrosse Club   The 2021 National Lacrosse League (NLL) […]

Steve Toll playing lacrosse

River Lions look to roar into CEBL final

by Rod Mawhood

River Lions guard Xavier Sneed takes a shot against the Ottawa BlackJacks. Photo credit: CEBL/Matthew Winick The Niagara River Lions earned a bye into CEBL Championship Weekend in Edmonton, and after a 12-day layoff from game action will meet the Fraser Valley Bandits in the semi-final action this evening.  The (10-4) River Lions enter the […]

riverlion making jump shot

Niagara’s oldest sporting franchise adds another Ontario championship

by Rod Mawhood

The St. Catharines Jr. A Athletics after winning the 2021 Ontario Junior Lacrosse League (OJLL) championship earlier this month. Photo credit: OJLL/Nanticoke Photography The oldest sporting franchise in Niagara, and one of the oldest in the province, added another Ontario championship to its name. The St. Catharines Jr. A Athletics Lacrosse club, founded in 1877, […]

St Catharines Atheletics

Niagara helps propel Canada to impressive medal showing at Tokyo Olympics

by Rod Mawhood

Canadian long-distance runner Mohammed Ahmed (left) with teammate Justyn Knight. Ahmed, who calls St. Catharines home, won silver in the men’s 5000m last week in Tokyo. Knight finished seventh. Photo credit: Twitter/CBC Olympics  It was an Olympics to remember, for more reasons than one. Despite declaring a state of emergency the week before the games […]

Mohammed Ahmed holding a canadian flag

Niagara River Lions regular season wraps up this weekend

by Rod Mawhood

Team has already clinched a playoff berth. Photo credit: Niagara River Lions The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) was the first professional sports league in Canada to return to play during the pandemic with the 2020 CEBL Summer Series. Less than a year later, a shortened 2021 campaign is set to wrap up with fans […]

river lions on the court

“Really proud to represent St. Catharines”

by Rod Mawhood

Garden City native Kristen Kit (bottom row, second from right). Kit and Canada’s women’s eight rowing crew captured gold in Tokyo last week. Photo credit: Twitter/Team Canada There’s no doubt the women have been the story for Canada at the Tokyo Olympics.  As of Monday evening, 13 of the 14 medals won by Canadians were […]

rowing team

NHL free agent frenzy – Niagara edition

by Rod Mawhood

NHL forward Josh Ho-Sang in action with the New York Islanders. Ho-Sang is one of four former Niagara IceDogs to sign a new contract this week. The Toronto native penned a Professional Tryout deal with his hometown organization Wednesday. Photo credit: AP/Tony Gutierrez Over 70 National Hockey League (NHL) players signed new contracts this week, […]

hosang on the ice

Burkholder back in the Rose City

by Rod Mawhood

 Dave Burkholder. The veteran bench boss is set to take over the Welland Jr. Canadians. Photo credit: Twitter/Welland Jr. Canadians Life has truly come full circle for Dave Burkholder. The now 59-year-old – who grew up watching the Welland Jr. Canadians, then played for the franchise, then watched his son skate for the team – […]

Dave Burkholder

Niagara well represented at Olympic Games

by Rod Mawhood

Canada’s Men’s Four rowing Olympic contingent. The crew features two Niagara connections: St. Catharines Rowing Club’s Jakub Buczek (far back) and Brock University’s Luke Gadsdon (second to back). Photo credit: Team Canada/Canadian Olympic Committee The Tokyo Olympics officially kicked off Friday with the opening ceremonies as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dampen this year’s games […]

men's rowing

Niagara’s own NBA champion

by Rod Mawhood

As the National Basketball Association Finals continue, and the growth of basketball continues in this country, one has to think of Niagara’s only NBA Champion: Mike Smrek.

Lakers team photo

Blue Jays at the all-star break

by Rod Mawhood

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu. The team’s bullpen is the focus heading into the second half of the season. Photo credit: Getty Images/Mark Brown There’s two ways to look at the Toronto Blue Jays, and their record, at the Major League Baseball All-Star break.  Sitting at (45-42) on the season, and only […]

ryu pitching

Canadian tennis on the upswing

by Rod Mawhood

No matter the result of Denis Shapovalov’s semi-final match against top-ranked Novak Djokovic on Friday, there’s no denying that this week’s results from Wimbledon have solidified Canadian tennis’ position around the globe.

Shapovolov celebrating

Six Pack Recruiting is branching out

by Rod Mawhood

She was sitting in a restaurant with her husband three years ago when the proverbial lightbulb went off for Dale Melnick.

Dale Melnick

Niagara IceDogs release 2021-22 schedule

by Rod Mawhood

As things slowly but surely return to normal across Niagara, sports are no different.

The Niagara River Lions began their regular season last week, the Welland Jackfish will begin their season next week, while the Niagara IceDogs released their 2021-22 schedule on Tuesday.

Ice Dogs on the ice playing hockey

Two all-world goaltenders highlight the 2021 Stanley Cup Final

by Rod Mawhood

There’s no doubt that Carey Price and Andrei Vasilevskiy are the focus of both combatants and most fans as the 2021 Stanley Cup Final began Monday night in Tampa Bay.

Carey Price

Niagara River Lions season underway

by Rod Mawhood

When you land players from two of the most storied basketball programs in North America, you’re already ahead of most when it comes to recruiting.

Guillaume Payen-Boucard on the court

‘The Fort’ resumes racing

by Rod Mawhood

It’s amazing to think about the history of Fort Erie Race Track.

It all began in November of 1896, when the Fort Erie Jockey Club and its president John Hood put the wheels in motion to break ground for racing in Fort Erie.

fort erie racetrack

Her resume speaks for itself, but one thing is missing: an Olympic appearance.

That last accomplishment can be, and will be, checked off this year for Kristen Kit.

rowing tteam

IceDogs draft 16 players, including two with Niagara connections

by Rod Mawhood

Dawson Lukey in action with the Southern Tier Admirals in 2020. Lukey was the Niagara IceDogs’ final pick of the OHL Priority Selection draft. The St. Catharines native should feel right at home with his new team. Photo credit: BP Sports Niagara/ Bill Potrecz Like a lot of things these days, it certainly wasn’t the […]

Dawson Lukey on the ice

Niagara IceDogs prepare for OHL Draft during unprecedented times

by Rod Mawhood

Imagine trying to build a hockey team and drafting close to a dozen players who haven’t played in a ‘real’ game in more than a year.

Then, add the fact that the players you’re drafting are fifteen and sixteen years old and could have easily added a few inches in height and/or 10 to 20 pounds to their frames.

Joey Burke

Toronto Blue Jays set to move to Buffalo – again

by Rod Mawhood

It was thought to be a one-time thing, but the COVID-19 pandemic means the Toronto Blue Jays are heading back to Buffalo, N.Y. this spring and summer.

Sahlen Field is the usual home of the Blue Jays AAA affiliate – the Buffalo Bisons – but the Bisons are playing their home games in Trenton, New Jersey after the Jays announced in early May they would be returning to Buffalo.

Sahlen Field

Olympic dream comes true for local rower

by Rod Mawhood

Not many athletes, or people in general, can say their dreams came true within 10 years – especially imagining such a lofty dream as p marticipating in the Olympics.

But that’s exactly what happened for Brock Badgers rower Luke Gadsdon.

Jakub Buczek, Luke Gadsdon, Gavin Stone, and Will Crothers.

Niagara Falls native Tre Ford continues to impress

by Rod Mawhood

Football has been part of Tre Ford’s DNA since he was a youngster.

His father introduced the game to him and his twin brother Tyrell here in Niagara.

Tre Ford on the field

From volleyball coach to ‘Youth Life Coach’

by Rod Mawhood

Matthew Ragogna. At 27, the Brock University men’s volleyball coach is the youngest coach in all Canadian university sport. Photo credit: Brock News/Stephen Leithwood Coaches across Niagara, the province in fact, have all become zoom-meeting masters over the past year or so. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant different times in the world of sports. For […]

Matthew Ragogna

Let’s start in the Canadian/North Division, and who better to talk the Toronto vs. Montreal series than a man who was on the ice the last time these two teams met back in 1979, on the side of the Leafs.

Bruce Boudreau

Clutterbuck has that fire back

by Rod Mawhood

As the puck gets set to drop on the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Saturday, there are a number of Niagara natives, or players with connections to the region, who will be in action — but no one with more experience than Cal Clutterbuck.

Cal Clutterbuck on the ice

Multisport court in Welland will be both accessible and inclusive

by Rod Mawhood

The City of Welland is about to become a leader in inclusivity.

The Jumpstart Inclusive Multisport Court will not only benefit the Rose City but the entire Niagara Region and beyond, according to Manager of Recreation and Culture for the City of Welland Richard Dalton.

people sitting on the dock at the Welland International Flatwater Centre

Former Niagara IceDog in NHL ‘Rookie of the Year’ Conversation

by Rod Mawhood

Not many players in Niagara IceDogs history, heck OHL history, have averaged more than two points a game.

Yet in the 38 games he played in an IceDogs jersey, Jason Robertson did just that, tallying 79 points in those 38 games and winning the Ontario Hockey League scoring title.

Jason Robertson on the ice

Bills bolster defence in 2021 NFL Draft

by Rod Mawhood

The one glaring need for the Buffalo Bills entering the 2021 NFL Draft was a defensive-end pass rusher, or as they’re regularly referred to these days: ‘edge rusher.’

Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott

Let’s rewind to February 22, 2020. The Brock Badgers were down 51-32 to the Windsor Lancers heading into the fourth quarter, but managed to outscore their opponents 29-6 over the final 10 minutes in a 61-57 victory.

Melissa Tatti, head coach Mike Rao, and Sam Keltos

Billy Burke is used to making phone calls to his players and staff, but last week was a little different.

The Niagara IceDogs head coach, along with his younger brother Joey (IceDogs General Manager), called every one of his players to inform them that the 2020-21 OHL (Ontario Hockey League) season had been cancelled, after a return to play plan could not be worked out with health officials and the provincial government.

Ice Dogs playing hockey

Brock University names new Director of Sports

by Rod Mawhood

Called a proven leader in university athletics, with extensive experience supporting the development of student-athletes and coaches, Brock University has named Melissa Krist its new Director of Sports.

Mel Krist

Alex Nedeljkovic taking his game to another level

by Rod Mawhood

It’s astonishing to think Alex Nedeljkovic cleared NHL waivers just a few months ago.

The Carolina Hurricanes netminder, and former Niagara IceDog, could have been picked up by any other club, now he’s near the top in every NHL goaltending category.

Alex Nedeljkovic

Young athletes and the Covid-19 pandemic

by Rod Mawhood

As a sports talk-show radio host I often receive guest requests and suggestions.

A couple of weeks back I received a response to a tweet in regard to young athletes and their mental health through the Covid-19 pandemic. I immediately started looking into sports psychologists here in Niagara and came across the name Dr. Chris Friesen in Grimsby.

young atheletes

Maple Leafs make biggest splash at NHL Trade Deadline

by Rod Mawhood

Every team in the North (Canadian) Division made moves on NHL Trade Deadline Day, but it was the Toronto Maple Leafs that made the biggest splash.

Maple Leafs General Manager, and Brock University Sports Management graduate, Kyle Dubas was the busiest of the seven Canadian general managers.

kyle debas

Tinnish’s tenure with Blue Jays continues

by Rod Mawhood

It’s been 20 years since Andrew Tinnish last donned a Brock Badgers baseball uniform.

Since then, the Burlington native has traveled the globe working in the sport he loves, and doing so for Canada’s only Major League Baseball franchise.

Andrew Tinnish

Thorold’s Tyler Angle signs with the Columbus Blue Jackets

by Rod Mawhood

Tyler Angle continues to prove his doubters wrong.
In fact, he uses his naysayers as extra-motivation.
The 20-year old Thorold native was expected to be playing his overage season in the OHL (Ontario Hockey League) with the Windsor Spitfires this year, instead he just signed an NHL contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets and is averaging a point per game with the Blue Jackets AHL (American Hockey League) affiliate – the Cleveland Monsters.

Tyler Angle on the ice

Former Duke Blue Devil captain signs with Niagara River Lions

by Rod Mawhood

There aren’t too many basketball programs bigger than the Duke Blue Devils.
The perennial college basketball power house has churned out dozens of legendary NBA stars including newly acquired Toronto Raptor Rodney Hood, and Canada Basketball standout RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks.

Javin DeLaurier

2021 Toronto Blue Jays Season Preview

by Rod Mawhood

They will definitely be improved, but can they make the jump to the elite of the American League or more importantly the American League East?
Let’s preview the 2021 Toronto Blue Jays.

Jackfish commit to the Rose City long-term

by Rod Mawhood

The Welland Jackfish made it official earlier this week, signing a six-year lease with the City of Welland.
The Jackfish, members of the Intercounty Baseball League, arrived in the Rose City in 2019 and immediately gained a following welcoming over 15,000 fans to Welland Stadium – or “The Pond” as it’s affectionately known.

Welland Stadium

Niagara Falls native part of all female Toronto Raptors broadcast

by Rod Mawhood

When you look up the definition of hard work paying off, Amy Audibert’s bio and story should appear.

The Niagara Falls native is set to make Canadian Broadcasting history tomorrow night when she’ll be a part of TSN’s all female broadcast crew working the Toronto Raptors – Denver Nuggets game.

Amy Audibert

Owen Diodati rollin’ with the Tide in Alabama

by Rod Mawhood

There’s something about the bases being loaded and Owen Diodati at the dish.
The 19-year old Niagara Falls native hit his third grand slam of the season as the University of Alabama Crimson Tide rallied to outscore their interstate rivals – The University of Southern Alabama – 11-8 in recent NCAA Baseball action.

owen diodati

Bisons announce coaches

by Rod Mawhood

The Toronto Blue Jays have announced their minor league coaching appointments.
The Blue Jays named Casey Candaele, the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons next manager. The former Bisons infielder and American Association All-Star becomes the 22nd manager of the Bisons during the modern era.

Casey Candaele

Walter Gretzky remembered

by Rod Mawhood

He was known as the ‘Ultimate Hockey Dad.’
Walter Gretzky, father of Wayne, passed away at the age of 82 last Thursday and the tributes have not stopped.

Walter Gretzky

Top Level Soccer is back in Niagara

by Rod Mawhood

It’s hard to believe the St. Catharines Club Roma Wolves franchise dates back to its founding in 1967.
The team enjoyed stops in the Canadian Soccer League (CSL), the National Soccer League and the Canadian Professional Soccer League.

soccer ball

Thomas and Roberts blazing a trail for others

by Rod Mawhood

Black History Month may have wrapped up this past weekend, but two former Niagara IceDogs are still forging ahead in their effort to grow the game of hockey for minorities around the world.

Akil Thomas with his Willie O'Ree skates.

Battle of the bulge affects pro athletes too

by Rod Mawhood

It’s something that inflicts the majority of the population at some point in their lives.
Weight gain.

guerrero jr

Super Saturday for current and former Niagara IceDog goaltenders

by Rod Mawhood

Sometimes an email or message can just brighten your day.
That was the case Saturday afternoon when the Niagara IceDogs sent out an email titled: ‘Tynan joins Iowa Wild on ATO’

ice dogs goalie

Buffalo Bisons sign long term agreement with Major League Baseball

by Rod Mawhood

It’s hard to believe that the Buffalo Bisons are entering their ninth season of affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Coca Cola Field

Former IceDog Tomasino turns pro

by Rod Mawhood

We’ve entered the third week of February, and Phil Tomasino still hasn’t celebrated Christmas with his family.
It was a whirlwind end to 2020, and the first six weeks of 2021 have been no different for the former Niagara IceDogs forward.

Tomasino on the ice

From Niagara to the Philippines National Team – the Lora Mateo story

by Rod Mawhood

There’s not many people in Canada that can say the first sport they tried was rugby. But Niagara Falls native Lora Mateo is one of those people.
“All my cousins were older than me, and they hyped up the sport so much, and I needed something to do during high school and they recommended rugby and the first tryout I ever did, it was something I fell in love with,” Mateo explained.

laura mateo playing rugby

Fonthill native and CFL Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman joins TiCats

by Rod Mawhood

Growing up in Fonthill, Chris Van Zeyl was like most youngsters across Niagara. He played a wide range of sports, but somehow he settled on football.
From St. Alexander Catholic Elementary in Fonthill, to Notre Dame College (High) School in Welland, to McMaster University in Hamilton, to the Canadian Football League (CFL), Van Zeyl’s football journey has been an interesting one.

Chris Vanzeyl

Wells relishing his Edmonton Oilers call-up

by Rod Mawhood

I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with and interviewing thousands of athletes over the past almost three decades spent working in this interesting business.
From a professional level, two of the finest athletes to deal with were former St. Catharines Blue Jay and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Pat Hentgen and all-time Toronto Argos great Mike “Pinball” Clemons.

dylan well in the net

Blue Jays spend big in off-season acquisitions

by Rod Mawhood

The Toronto Blue Jays were rumoured to be in on basically every free-agent available this off-season. It seemed as if every day there was another story about a player the Jays would be making an offer to, or trying to acquire.

George Springer

The Bills will be back

by Rod Mawhood

The Kansas City Chiefs proved why they’re the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Despite an early 9-0 lead, thanks to a muffed punt, the Buffalo Bills were thoroughly dismantled in a 38-24 AFC Championship Game final.

bills vs chiefs

Buffalo Bills a win away from the Super Bowl

by Rod Mawhood

January 23, 1994.
Twenty-seven years and one day later after their last appearance in the AFC Championship Game, the Buffalo Bills will take on Kansas City this upcoming Sunday evening with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

Former Buffalo Bill Steve Christie

Bring on the Ravens

by Rod Mawhood

Just over 24 hours after securing their first playoff win in a quarter century, the second seeded Buffalo Bills were told they would be hosting their first ever night playoff game.
The only question – who would they be facing next Saturday night at Bills Stadium? Would it be the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Baltimore Ravens?


Buffalo Bills ready for playoff football

by Rod Mawhood

There’s not a hotter team entering the National Football League playoffs than the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills clinched the second seed in the AFC, a week after claiming their first division title since 1995, with an annihilation of the Miami Dolphins. 56-26 was the final.

Josh Allen

2021 sports predictions – local and beyond

by Rod Mawhood

Happy New Year!
The year 2020 will never be forgotten, in particular from the world of sports.
One of the most telling sports pictures (now GIFs) of the year that just passed, that expanded well beyond the realm of athletics, and one that many people have forgotten, was NBAer Rudy Gobert touching all the microphones that lay in front of him at the podium after a Utah Jazz game – after he tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Rudy Gobert touching all the microphones

Niagara Falls native working World Junior tournament as linesman

by Rod Mawhood

It’s no secret that many athletes want to stay involved in sports in some way after their playing careers come to an end.
Whether it’s coaching, managing, scouting – athletes want to give back or get something more from the game they had dedicated so many hours to in trying to perfect or master.

Matt Mannella on the ice

Puck drop on OHL season delayed again

by Rod Mawhood

It’s definitely the tale of two leagues when it comes to seeing or watching live hockey over the next few months.

While the National Hockey League released its 2021 schedule this week, the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), home of the Niagara IceDogs, had to delay the start to its season once again.

ice dogs hockey

Buffalo back on top of AFC East

by Rod Mawhood

Josh Allen wasn’t even born the last time the Buffalo Bills won the AFC East.
Now he’s at the helm of a team that has won their first division title since 1995.

Buffalo Bills players

NFL kicker punted back to St. Catharines due to work visa issue

by Rod Mawhood

The year 2020 will go down in history as one we’ll all try and forget.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its protocols and restrictions affected many locally, nationally and internationally. Cancellations and postponements were also the norm when it came to the sports world.

NFL kicker Lirim Hajrullahu

Lots of local content in World Juniors

by Rod Mawhood

Ratings for the World Junior Hockey Championships are always big, but throw in the COVID-19 pandemic with more people at home, no fans allowed in the arena, and the 2021 Championships could set a ratings record.
This year’s tournament begins on Christmas Day from Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta.

Dylan Cozens on the ice

Baseggio gets Kraken

by Rod Mawhood

Niagara Falls native Director of Pro Scouting for NHL’s newest franchise

He’s certainly not a household name in Niagara, but he has one of the most important positions with the NHL’s newest franchise.

dave baseggio

Jackfish sign former major leaguer

by Rod Mawhood

The Welland Jackfish play their home games out of Welland Stadium – affectionately known as ‘The Pond.’

The second year franchise, in the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL), has done everything right off the field in terms of branding and promotion.

Alberto Callaspo at bat

Deadline looms for local Jr. B hockey clubs

by Rod Mawhood

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the local sports scene.

The Niagara IceDogs, in conjunction with the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), have pushed their start date back to Feb. 4, 2021.

puck drop

Scouting during a pandemic

by Rod Mawhood

Imagine being on the road, at different arenas, in countries all over the world, for over two decades and all of a sudden it comes to a complete stop.
That’s the case for thousands of hockey scouts across the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic, including those who call St. Catharines home.


Pat Hentgen It’s hard to believe that Pat Hentgen’s illustrious baseball career started right here in St. Catharines The Detroit Michigan native was just seventeen years old when he was drafted by the Blue Jays in the fifth round of the 1986 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. A few days later he was assigned to […]

pat hantgen throwing a ball

Raptors go small in NBA Draft

by Rod Mawhood

The Toronto Raptors entered Wednesday’s NBA Draft with the 29th and 59th overall picks over the course of two rounds.
Unlike the NHL and NFL drafts where seven rounds make up hundreds of selections or the 40 rounds in Major League Baseball – the NBA Draft is just two rounds where a total of 60 players are selected.

Malachi FLynn on the basketball court

Ng makes history with the Miami Marlins

by Rod Mawhood

Fresh off The Niagara Independent’s feature on longtime Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers administrator and executive Ellen Harrigan last week, the Miami Marlins made history themselves naming Kim Ng the first female General Manager in major sports history.

Talk about paying your dues, Ng started in baseball over 30 years ago as an intern with the Chicago White Sox.

Kim Ng

World Series Champion started her baseball career in St. Catharines

by Rod Mawhood

There was a local, Niagara, connection on the World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ellen Harrigan – Director of Baseball Administration with the Dodgers – was once the General Manager of the St. Catharines Blue Jays. In fact she was hired by the Jays as an 18-year old.

Ellen Harrigan at the World Series

Getting athletes to their peak performance

by Rod Mawhood

What happens when you combine body function, emotion, and training techniques into one?
You get Sport Performance.
It’s a term we’re hearing more and more throughout the sporting world as teams and organizations hire specialists to deal with their respective athletes.

Steve Lidstone

Niagara IceDogs will return to the ice in 2021

by Rod Mawhood

It’s official.
The Niagara IceDogs, along with the Ontario Hockey League, will return to action on Feb. 4, 2021.
OHL Commissioner David Branch made the announcement Thursday morning.

icedogs player shooting on net

Matteo Costantini continuing his hockey career living with Hall of Famer

by Rod Mawhood

Sometimes stories fall right into reporters’ laps. As was the case recently with St. Catharines native and 2020 Buffalo Sabres draft pick Matteo Costantini.

While trying to set up a radio interview with the 18-year old, via ‘Zoom’, I chuckled as his sign-in name was Scott Niedermayer. As in Hockey Hall of Famer, four-time Stanley Cup Champion, and five-time NHL All-Star Scott Niedermayer.

Matteo Costantini playing hockey

Niagara Basketball United set to take to the court

by Rod Mawhood

It’s been discussed for almost 20 years, but it’s finally come to fruition.

Members of the Brock Badgers, Niagara College Knights, Ridley Tigers, Pelham Panthers and Niagara Tigers all came together to form Niagara Basketball United.

basketball net

Niagara Falls native now a two-time Canadian record holder

by Rod Mawhood

For someone that gave up the sport of running for years, Jim Dyck is certainly reaping its rewards later in life.
The 55-year old Niagara Falls native had a productive summer on the track to say the least, setting two Canadian records in the sport of running.

Jim Dyck

Four Niagara connections drafted to the NHL and professionally

by Rod Mawhood

The 2020 NHL Entry Draft has come and gone and no fewer than three players with Niagara connections heard their names called.
A day later another local player signed a professional contract.
Welland native Colby Ambrosio went in the fourth round to the Colorado Avalanche while St. Catharines native Matteo Constantini was drafted in the fifth round by the Buffalo Sabres.

Colby Ambrosio on the ice

Former IceDog Verhaeghe – Stanley Cup Champion

by Rod Mawhood

It’s kind of fitting that on National Hockey League Draft day we feature a player that was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, but didn’t make his NHL debut until he landed with his third franchise.
Twenty-five year old Carter Verhaeghe finally got his shot in the show with the Tampa Bay Lightning this past season, and now he’s a Stanley Cup champion.

Carter Verhaeghe one the ice

Dogs await Draft: Three IceDogs on projected list

by Rod Mawhood

It’s happening three months later than usual, and virtually, but the 2020 NHL Entry Draft is set to go Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.
It was originally scheduled for June 26–27 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, but was postponed on March 25 of this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cameron Butler of the Niagara IceDogs

Terry Fox’s Niagara connection

by Rod Mawhood

As elementary and high schools across Niagara wrap up Terry Fox fundraising and runs this week, it’s a little known fact that the Canadian hero’s first and only trip to Niagara Falls had to do with one of the city’s own legends.
Canadian Basketball icon Jay Triano, who calls Niagara Falls home, had a special bond with Fox – one that former Simon Fraser University Head Coach Stan Stewardson said brought Fox to the Honeymoon Capital.

Jay Triano and Terry Fox

Jamal Murray continues to grow the game of Basketball in and for Canada

by Rod Mawhood

You don’t have to look too far to see how much the game of basketball has grown in Canada.
It was just Tuesday night of this week when four of the top five Twitter trends in Canada involved the National Basketball Association (NBA) and in particular one Canadian player.

Welland native is new director of player development for Sabres

by Rod Mawhood

There’s a reason Matt Ellis went undrafted and carried that into a 10-year NHL career. In fact it can summed up in two words – work ethic.
It’s something the Welland native has prided himself on, and something he plans to carry over off the ice into his new role as Director of Player Development with the Buffalo Sabres.

matts ellis

Is this the year for the Buffalo Bills?

by Rod Mawhood

Quick, when was the last time the Buffalo Bills won a playoff game?
Despite making the National Football League post-season two out of the last three years, the answer might shock some.
December 30, 1995.

buffalo bills

The Prince awaits his next fight

by Rod Mawhood

It might not have been world record pace, but it was definitely close – and impressive.
Lucas Bahdi’s first nine months as a professional boxer produced a perfect (9-0) record, and all victories were via knockout or stoppage.

Lucas Bahdi in the ring

DesChatelets Jr’s mental disposition is his key to success

by Rod Mawhood

“The first memory of the sport I have was not the best one. I remember going out there and being so, so nervous. I couldn’t feel my arms, my neck became so stiff I could barely turn my head – wow.”
Not the words you would expect to hear from a wrestler recently determined to be a future Canadian Olympian, but Richard DesChatelets Jr. is just that.

Richard DesChatelets Jr. on the podium

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman steps up for Ludzik and Foundation

by Rod Mawhood

The Covid-19 pandemic forced many people to do and try different things.

Look no further than Sportsnet’s and Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman, who decided to go live on television with the beard he grew during the first few months of the pandemic.

Elliotte Friedman

Triano continues to represent Canada, and Niagara Basketball globally

by Rod Mawhood

Jay Triano will never forget Friday nights at A.N. Myer High School in Niagara Falls.
That’s where the current lead assistant with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets began to make his mark on the basketball court.

Jay Triano

It was a trip to an Ottawa Senators game that completely changed Jensen Murphy’s life.
The Buffalo Sabres were in town, and a certain goaltender named Dominek Hasek was between the pipes.

goalie Jensen Murphy

IceDogs hope to hit the ice December 1st

by Rod Mawhood

The Ontario Hockey League, in collaboration with its 20 teams including the Niagara IceDogs, has announced its return to play plans.
The league, like most across Canada, halted play back in March when the coronavirus hit.

ice dogs players on ice

CEBL Summer Series in final stretch

by Rod Mawhood

It was trending on twitter during its first day of action on national television, nine days later the round robin portion of the CEBL (Canadian Elite Basketball League) Summer Series is about to wrap up.

Seven teams from across Canada are competing for a championship trophy including the host Niagara River Lions.

riverlions playing basketball

Mac Hollowell living out his hockey dream

by Rod Mawhood

Mac Hollowell grew up idolizing Darcy Tucker.
Although Tucker played a different position and Hollowell is not the antagonizer the pesky forward was, the 21-year old Niagara Falls native has always loved the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Mac Hollowell on ice at the leafs training camp

Major League Baseball is back

by Rod Mawhood

How will the Blue Jays look in a shortened season?
Most casual baseball fans have heard the name Vladimir Guerrero Jr. by now, but many don’t know the other young talent on the Toronto Blue Jays roster.

Andrew Tinnish standing in the ballpark

An inside look: What will the summer start to the NHL playoffs look like?

by Rod Mawhood

Former Niagara IceDogs captain Ryan Strome takes us through what the New York Rangers have done and are doing.
There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyday life.

New York Ranger Ryan Strome on the ice

Welland native Connor Walters inks first pro contract

by Rod Mawhood

There is a term in sports – late bloomer.
Connor Walters is just that.
The 23-year old Welland native, former OHL (Ontario Hockey League), and Brock Badgers blueliner really found his stride at the Canadian University level after five seasons of major junior hockey with the Owen Sound Attack and Hamilton Bulldogs.

Connor Walters skating onto the rink

Sabrina D’Angelo – representing Welland on the world stage

by Rod Mawhood

Sabrina D’Angelo has represented Canada at some level since she was 14 years old.
The Welland native, and soccer goalkeeper, has proudly worn the red and white at the provincial, national, and international level.

Sabrina D’Angelo

The sport of Cricket in Niagara is now world renowned

by Rod Mawhood

When you think of sports in the Region, hockey, rowing and even lacrosse may come to mind but what about cricket?
Yes, believe it or not cricket in Niagara dates back to the early 1800’s.
The sport itself is believed to have originated in England during medieval times.

cricket stick and ball

Napper’s Boxing Club gets green light to re-open

by Rod Mawhood

The sound of leather gloves pounding canvas heavy bags, or bare fists keeping rhythm on a speed bag.
For over a century it’s been the norm at Napper’s Boxing Club in Welland.

a boxer

Growing up in Regent Park in Toronto Charles Kissi could have only dreamed of what he’s accomplished decades later.
Over 40-percent of the residents in the Toronto neighbourhood are considered low income.
And sometimes those residents didn’t see eye to eye or respect authority – in particular the Toronto police.

Charles Kissi

Niagara could be home to nationally televised basketball tournament

by Rod Mawhood

Niagara, and the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines, could be featured in a proposed basketball tournament that will be broadcast live across Canada on CBC Television.
As of now the CEBL (Canadian Elite Basketball League) tournament hinges on government approval during the Covid-19 pandemic and where Niagara stands in terms of a stage and restrictions. The Region currently sits in stage two of recovery.

river lions basketball on court

Dear Dad – Happy Father’s Day

by Rod Mawhood

The following is a special Father’s Day edition of our sports column by Niagara Independent sports reporter Rod Mawhood.

Rod Mawhood and his dad Rick

The Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame class of 2020 has a real St. Catharines feel to it.
In fact, a whole former St. Catharines team will be entering the Hall this year.
The 1990-1991 St. Catharines Jr. A Athletics will be honored in the ‘Team Category.’

Randy Mearns

The message is simple – it can happen to any of us.
Dan Giancola was a professional football player, turned personal trainer. Yet two Wednesday’s ago, after conducting an online training session, he suffered a heart attack.

They’re at the post once again in Fort Erie

by Rod Mawhood

It’s a little later than hoped for, but considering the circumstances the powers that be at Fort Erie Race Track are ecstatic that later today the bugle will sound to officially kick off the 123rd horse racing season at what truly is a Niagara Institution.
June 16, 1897 – Fort Erie Race Track officially opened.

New rules on the links as golf courses open in Niagara

by Rod Mawhood

It was a welcome announcement from Premier Doug Ford a couple of weeks back – ‘golf courses can reopen.’
However the game of golf, or at least the normal golf course routines as most of us knew them, has changed, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

beechwood golf course

Hoping rowing gets back on the water

by Rod Mawhood

The sport of rowing dates back well over a century in St. Catharines.
It was 1903 to be exact that the St. Catharines Rowing Club was founded, the same year the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta moved to Martindale Pond in Port Dalhousie for good.


Shawn Spears – putting Niagara on the professional wrestling map

by Rod Mawhood

Almost two decades as a professional wrestler, including over five years working for the biggest promotion in the world, you would think Shawn Spears (real name Ronnie Arneill) would be happy with where his career is at

pro wrestler Shawn Spears

Welland Jackfish set for ‘virtual’ home opener

by Rod Mawhood

It’s certainly thinking outside the (batters) box.
The Welland Jackfish, like most sports franchises during these trying times, would like to be welcoming their fans to Welland Stadium for a summer of baseball.

jackfish home opener

Three NHLers with local ties do their part during Covid-19 pandemic

by Rod Mawhood

The year 2020 will forever be engraved in our minds as a time of change. The world as we knew it will never be the same.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic everyone has done their part in trying to lessen the burden we all face on a daily basis.

Vince Dunn

Where are they now? Luca Caputi – IceDogs only 50-goal scorer

by Rod Mawhood

Luca Caputi wishes he played more than one season in Niagara with the IceDogs.
Caputi is still the only IceDog to score 50 (Jason Robertson did so but with Kingston and Niagara combined) or more goals in a season.

Luca Caputi

Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell thinking outside of the (batter’s) box

by Rod Mawhood

It was just after his appearance at Romby’s Tavern & Smokehouse in St. Cathairnes, in early March, that Sportsnet’s – and the host of Toronto Blue Jays baseball – had a premonition.
“Sometime around then, when we hosted there, I was just trying to figure out a good way of reaching out to Blue Jays fans and sort of keeping the line open with them,” said Jamie Campbell from his home in Toronto.

Jamie Campbell

Sports no longer the positive distraction they once were

by Rod Mawhood

Sports origins date back at least 3,000 years. In fact the first Olympic Games took place in 776 BC. Sports have been a positive distraction for many on both a national, international and of course local level.
The oldest organized sporting franchise in Niagara, still in existence, is the St. Catharines Jr. A Athletics lacrosse club.

welland stadium

OHL Draft: IceDogs select 15 players including highest draft pick ever

by Rod Mawhood

The Niagara IceDogs were poised to make their highest pick ever, since arriving in the Region back in 2007, in this past Saturday’s Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection Draft.
First round, second overall.

Pamo Femis

Woody Williams will never forget St. Catharines

by Rod Mawhood

He played almost 20 years of professional baseball, including 15 in the major leagues.
Yet if you ask former MLB all-star Woody Williams his favorite baseball memory his answer might surprise you.

Ex Major League all-star Woody Williams

River Lions re-sign 2019 captain

by Rod Mawhood

The game of basketball has been good to Ryan Anderson.
The now 32-year old Seattle, Washington native has traveled the world through sport.
Anderson has played in the Netherlands and numerous cities across North America including here in Niagara with the River Lions.

River Lions Captain Ryan Anderson

Banner year for Badgers

by Rod Mawhood

Emily Allan’s air mile account will see a significant increase as the winter athletic season expires. Rightfully so.
The Brock University Associate Director of Athletics will visit at least two if not three provinces in a 10 day span.

Brock Badgers women’s basketball team

Badgers dream season continues

by Rod Mawhood

An impressive (17-5) regular season has transformed into something even more special for the Brock Badgers Women’s Basketball team.
That record has now been improved by three more victories, an Ontario University Association (OUA) Critelli Cup Championship and a trip to the USports Final 8 – National Championships – later this week in Ottawa.

brock women's basketball

Jackfish set for second season

by Rod Mawhood

Despite the recent weather in Niagara, March is only hours away and that means the boys of summer will be back.
Not since the days of the St. Catharines Stompers, in the mid to late 1990’s, has baseball been so prominent in the Region. And you can thank the Welland Jackfish for that.

jackfish player catching a ball

Playoff time for Niagara’s Jr. B hockey clubs

by Rod Mawhood

As the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League – Golden Horseshoe Conference – regular season wraps up this weekend only one first round playoff series remains in question.
Will either St. Catharines or Hamilton finish third or fourth respectively, and play either Thorold or Pelham?

niagara falls canuck hockey player on ice

River Lions set to roar louder

by Rod Mawhood

What some so called experts and pundits predicted may not work, has been exactly the opposite.
In fact – it’s been a roaring success.
Professional basketball is about to embark on its fifth season here in the Region with the Niagara River Lions.

riverlions basketbal court

Simon says Hall of Fame – Todd Simon enters Niagara Falls Sports Wall of Fame

by Rod Mawhood

The smell of what was then the Nabisco plant – now Post Foods Canada Corporation – was Todd Simon’s first memory of Niagara Falls.
Simon arrived in the Honeymoon capital in 1989, and three short years later left his mark on the city and Region he now calls home.

todd simon with participants of his hockey camp

Just 27 years old, it’s hard to believe that Kirsten Moore-Towers has been figure skating since she was two.
The St. Catharines native is a two-time Canadian Pairs Champion with Sarnia’s Michael Marinaro after capturing earlier this month in Mississauga.

moore and marinaro skating

St. Catharines hosting the Memorial Cup of Lacrosse

by Rod Mawhood

It’s called the Memorial Cup of Lacrosse, and it’s coming to St. Catharines this summer.
The 2020 Minto Cup – the Canadian Jr. A Lacrosse Championship – has been awarded to the St. Catharines Jr. A Athletics.

the Minto cup trophy

Akil Thomas continues to impress both on and off the ice

by Rod Mawhood

In the span of less than two weeks Akil Thomas has gone from being the captain of the Niagara IceDogs and second round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings, to a household name across Canada.

It started on Sunday January 5 when the now Peterborough Petes forward scored the game-winning ‘Golden Goal’ in Canada’s 4-3 victory over Russia at the World Junior Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic.

akil thomas and Mike Oke

IceDogs restock in a big-time way – trade Thomas and Tomasino

by Rod Mawhood

Most Niagara IceDogs fans knew general manager Joey Burke needed to restock his teams draft cupboard after last season’s ‘all in’ campaign.
Well Burke did that and then some during this week’s Ontario Hockey League trade deadline.

Phil Tomasino

Niagara sporting franchises ready for 2020

by Rod Mawhood

Niagara is blessed with a wide range of sporting franchises. All of which add to the unique cultural surrounding sports across the Region.
The Niagara IceDogs lead the pack when it comes to fall and winter sports across Niagara.

st catharines A's

IceDogs brass happy at Christmas break

by Rod Mawhood

A .500 hockey club. Fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. A record of (7-2-1) over their last 10 games heading into the Christmas break. Many would say the Niagara IceDogs organization should be happy with the unofficial first half of the 2019-20 campaign.
Head Coach Billy Burke agrees.

akil thomas

The Interesting story of Al Jensen

by Rod Mawhood

From NHL goaltender, to St. Catharines Transit bus driver, to Director of Goaltending for NHL Central Scouting.
The story of Al Jensen is an interesting one.
Born in Hamilton, Jensen started playing goal for the same reason many kids do that first lace up the pads.

al jansen

Canucks and Falcons in the hunt at halfway mark

by Rod Mawhood

The regular season crown might already be out of reach, but the battle for second place in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League – Golden Horseshoe Conference – could come down to the wire.

It’s clear the Caledonia Corvairs, after taking a one-year hiatus from league play, are the class of the Golden Horseshoe but after that – just three points separate the second place Niagara Falls Canucks and third place St. Catharines Falcons.

Geater Ontario Hockey League logo

Welland’s Johnny Augustine is now a Grey Cup champion

by Rod Mawhood

What if Johnny Augustine got his original wish and never moved to Welland?
Perhaps he wouldn’t be the Grey Cup champion he is now.
Augustine’s dad, Saint-Ange, moved the family to Welland in Johnny’s grade nine year.

Johnny Augustine hoists the Grey Cup

NLL season kicks off with Niagara connections

by Rod Mawhood

Niagara is home to dozens of professional lacrosse players and coaches. Perhaps none bigger than all-world goaltender Matt Vinc.
When it comes to Canada’s national summer sport there isn’t anything the 37-year old St. Catharines native hasn’t won.

goaltender Matt Vinc

Brock Men’s Rugby off to National Championships

by Rod Mawhood

What a difference a year can make.
After finishing its 2018 season with a (1-7) record, the Brock Men’s Rugby team won an Ontario University Athletics bronze medal last weekend, and can improve on that starting tomorrow in Montreal as Concordia University hosts the Canadian University Championships.

badgers rugby

It’s amazing to think Tonya Verbeek didn’t start wrestling until she was sixteen years old while attending Beamsville Secondary School.
It was now colleague and fellow coach Dave Collie that brought women’s wrestling to the high school.

Tonya Verbeek at an Olympic wrestling match

Wanita May Dykstra soars into St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame

by Rod Mawhood

Growing up as the youngest of six siblings, competition and sports were always a part of Wanita May Dykstra’s life.

In fact it led the now 44-year old to more than she ever expected.

Wanita May Dykstra

Niagara College set to get ReuKnighted

by Rod Mawhood

It will be a first for Niagara College.
This Friday and Saturday former Knights will gather on Niagara College’s Welland Campus for ReuKnighted.
Past athletes, and alumni from the college’s broadcasting and sports management programs will come together for two days of celebration, sports and recognition.

Amy Audibert

Still in the Game – Former Stomper now with Nationals

by Rod Mawhood

As the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals prepare for Game 6 of the World Series tonight, one particular gentleman – with ties to St. Catharines – is hoping the Nationals can rebound from three straight losses at home and force a Game 7 in the fall classic.
Ralph “Rocket Wheeler” called the Garden City home back in the 1980’s and nineties.

Rocket Wheeler

Where there’s a Will there’s a way

by Rod Mawhood

Willy Manigat sounds like a seasoned vet. A veteran head coach.
You would never guess he’s just months into his new, and first, role as a head coach.
Manigat was named bench boss of the Brock Badgers Men’s Basketball team back in June, and officially took over the job on July 5.

Willy Manigat

Gillard gives back after career ending injury

by Rod Mawhood

It was four years ago this past week that Matt Gillard’s life changed – but thankfully not forever.
The then 19-year old was living the dream. A Welland native playing for one of the top junior hockey league’s in the world, in essentially his hometown, for the Niagara IceDogs.

Matt Gillard

Former Major Leaguer will never forget his St. Catharines Blue Jays days

by Rod Mawhood

When your professional baseball career spans 17 seasons, and features a World Series Championship with the New York Yankees, you might think one would forget about St. Catharines, Ontario and Community Park but David Weathers isn’t your average former major league pitcher.
In fact, the Tennessee native lists St. Catharines as his favorite pro baseball memory.

David Weathers pitching

Soccer and Rob Lalama go hand in hand

by Rod Mawhood

He’s dedicated over 40 years of his life to the game of soccer.
And he wouldn’t have any other way.
Rob Lalama began his coaching career at the age of fourteen, and did so to help out one of his brothers.

Niagara College soccer coach Rob Lalama

Garlent feeling the Rush

by Rod Mawhood

Holden Garlent was quick with his answer when asked whom he thought of first when he donned a Saskatchewan Rush jersey and hat at the 2019 National Lacrosse League (NLL) draft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Garlent was drafted in the first round, fourth overall, by the Rush and is listed as a defense/transition player.

Holden Garlent

IceDogs off to good start

by Rod Mawhood

When you lose nine regulars from your line-up the previous season any team would acknowledge a rebuild is underway.
Enter the 2019-20 Niagara IceDogs who feature 12 new faces to this year’s squad.
Gone is five-year veteran goaltender, and franchise wins leader, Stephen Dhillon, Ben Jones, Ivan Lodnia, Kiril Maksimov, Canadian Hockey League (CHL) leading scorer Jason Robertson, Jack Studnicka, Jacob Paquette, Johnny Schaefer and Matt Brassard.

drew hunter

Puck drops on Niagara’s Jr. B Hockey season

by Rod Mawhood

With Pelham, and the newest arena in Niagara, serving as the back drop the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League kicked off its season this past weekend.
Over 20 teams made the trek down Highway 20 to play in the GOJHL Showcase at the Meridian Community Centre.

puck drop

You don’t hear or see this too often.
A father and son coaching the same sport at the two biggest educational institutions in the same Region.
But it’s happening right here in Niagara.

mike and chris rao

Niagara IceDogs training camp preview

by Rod Mawhood

It may still be August, and summer is winding down, but the sounds of pucks hitting the glass and the train horn going off at Meridian Centre is fresh on the mind of many hockey fans across the Region.
Yes, Niagara IceDogs training camp opens today, and preseason game action begins Friday night for the team that has called St. Catharines home since 2007.

ice dogs training camp

Jackfish hoping to catch playoff fever – first round begins tonight

by Rod Mawhood

The Welland Jackfish will begin their first ever playoff round tonight. You would be hard pressed to find anyone that wouldn’t agree the Welland Jackfish inaugural season in the Rose City was a massive success. The team averaged 776 fans over 18 regular season home games. What’s more impressive? It’s the first time the franchise […]


IceDogs finalize coaching staff

by Rod Mawhood

August has officially arrived and that means Niagara IceDogs hockey is just around the corner. In fact the IceDogs, who arrived in Niagara back in 2007, kick off their pre-season schedule August 30 at the Vale Centre in Port Colborne against the Barrie Colts.
Earlier this week the team announced, and finalized, its coaching staff for the 2019-20 season.

Former NHLer Mark Mancari

Athletics season ends with semi-final playoff loss to Burlington

by Rod Mawhood

A promising regular season, and playoff outlook, came to abrupt end Sunday night for the St. Catharines Jr. A Athletics lacrosse club.
The Athletics were defeated in six games in the Ontario Lacrosse semi-finals by the Burlington Chiefs.
“This is obviously not what we wanted,” said A’s head coach Steve Toll who didn’t want to make excuses but admitted injuries were a factor down the stretch.

st catharines A's

84th running of the Prince of Wales Stakes goes tonight

by Rod Mawhood

The Fort Erie Race Track has been one of Niagara’s crown jewels since 1897, and tonight the biggest race at the Fort for the last eighty plus decade’s takes place with the running of the 84th Prince of Wales Stakes – the second jewel in Canada’s triple crown of thoroughbred horse racing.
Five horses make up the field for the race that will begin just before 7:40 p.m, and broadcast live across the country on TSN.

frank salive

Athletics and Arrows meet again in the playoffs

by Rod Mawhood

The St. Catharines Jr. A Athletics first round playoff opponent is a familiar one. For the third time in four years, the Athletics will meet the Six Nations Arrows in the opening round of the Ontario Junior A Lacrosse Association playoffs.
The previous two series have been sweeps. The Athletics last season, and the Arrows in 2016.

St Catharines A's on the bench

Hamilton Tiger-Cats kicker Lirim Hajrullahu’s proud to be Canadian

by Rod Mawhood

As Canadians from coast to coast celebrated Canada’s 152nd birthday yesterday, one professional athlete with Niagara roots has a special recollection of why this country is so special.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats kicker Lirim Hajrullahu fled worn torn in Kosovo as a youngster and found his way to St. Catharines.

Ti-Cats kicker Lirim Hajrullahu

Nunez from Stomper to Royal

by Rod Mawhood

Summer brings back many fond memories for this reporter, but none maybe fonder than my first professional sports announcing gig.
It was 1996, and I was lucky enough to be working in the big smoke and at Canada’s largest radio station – 680 News in Toronto.
I remember meeting with then St. Catharines Stompers’ General Manager John Belford at the team’s office on Merritt Street, and getting the job.


IceDogs forward selected in the 1st round of NHL Draft

by Rod Mawhood

Phil Tomasino joined an impressive list this past Friday night in Vancouver, British Columbia – the site of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Tomasino joined the list of Niagara IceDogs players drafted in the first round, as he was selected 24th overall by the Nasville Predators.


The Niagara Stanley Cup Connections

by Rod Mawhood

There was a definite Niagara feel to the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup victory this week.
No fewer than three former Niagara IceDogs sipped from Lord Stanley’s mug after the Blues bested the Boston Bruins in seven games with a 4-1 win Wednesday night.
Former Niagara IceDogs captain, and current St. Louis captain, Alex Pietrangelo was huge for the Blues during the post-season.

Alex Pietrangelo hoists the Stanley Cup

Cory Annett to enter Fort Erie Sports Wall of Fame

by Rod Mawhood

You may remember the name Cory Annett from his Canadian Football League playing days, but did you know he was a first round, third overall, pick in the 2002 CFL Draft?
Annett remembers draft day vividly because he gathered friends and family around for what he expected would be a long day.

Former CFLer Cory Annett

Love of baseball turns into passion for golf – RBC Canadian Open

by Rod Mawhood

A lot of people want to leave work early to hit the golf course – weather permitting of course – well Dan Pino’s job is literally at the golf course.
And not just any course, but Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario. It’s one of Canada’s most famous golf courses, and the home of Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. It’s hosted 30 Canadian Open’s.
And for the last almost 20 years it’s been Pino’s work place.

rbc open

Athletics hoping for big things in 2019

by Rod Mawhood

There’s no doubt expectations are high for the St. Catharines Jr. A Athletics in 2019.
And three games into their season the Athletics, thus far, are living up to the hype.
Coming off their best campaign in over a decade in 2018, the A’s are (3-0) to start this season, including Wednesday’s 7-4 win over the Kitchener-Waterloo Braves.


Welland Jackfish are hoping fans get hooked on local baseball

by Rod Mawhood

It’s been 30 years since Intercounty Baseball League action was played in the Rose City.
That all changes this Saturday at Welland Stadium.
Despite a rain out last weekend, all systems are a go for a planned home and season opening celebration Saturday at 1 p.m.

welland complex

Mike Strange to be inducted into Ontario Boxing Hall of Fame

by Rod Mawhood

Thirty-eight years, and counting, dedicated to the sport of boxing.
Former Canadian Olympian, and Niagara Falls native, Mike Strange can thank his neighbour for getting him to step into the ring for the first time.
Saturday night, almost two decades later, the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist will enter the Ontario Boxing Hall of Fame.

mike strange

Rose City soccer star enters Welland Sports Wall of Fame

by Rod Mawhood

Simon Gatti’s soccer career spanned the globe.
Sunday afternoon at Seaway Mall that career came full circle as the current head scout for the Montreal Impact (MLS – Major League Soccer) Academy entered Welland’s Sports Wall of Fame.
“I’m honoured and privileged,” said Gatti who began playing soccer in the Rose City at the age of five, and before long was running up and down the field with players much older.

Simon Gatti

Three former Thorold Blackhawks, one former Niagara IceDog, capture EIHL

by Rod Mawhood

There was a definite Thorold Blackhawks and Niagara IceDogs feel to the Cardiff Devils this season.
And that Niagara connection was a big reason why the Devils were crowned Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) champions.
Joey Martin, and Sean Bentivoglio – both of Thorold – and Mike Hedden of Dunnville all played on a line together as Cardiff beat Belfast 2-1 in the championship game last Sunday.
“They say the hockey world is small, and this kind of proves it,” said Martin who recently joined the Niagara Sports Report on 610 CKTB.

Joey Martin with EIHL championship trophy

Grimsby Peach Kings after another Schmalz Cup

by Rod Mawhood

There’s no denying that the Grimsby Peach Kings are one of the most successful teams in Ontario junior C hockey history.
In fact, only one team has won more Schmalz Cup’s than the Peach Kings at five. The Essex 73’s with seven.
Friday night a quest for a sixth championship begins for Grimsby when they travel to Napanee to take on the Raiders in game one of the best of seven series final.

peach kings

Frank Pietrangelo had one goal this season – get to the Sutherland Cup.
Sixty-three games later, he’s closer than he’s ever been as head coach of the Niagara Falls Canucks.
The Canucks, now seated as the second seed, open a best of seven Ontario Hockey Association semi-final series against the Waterloo Siskins tonight at the Gale Centre in Niagara Falls.
The Canucks haven’t been to the Sutherland Cup finals since 2011.

niagara falls canucks

Five Niagara natives drafted into the OHL

by Rod Mawhood

Saturday was a big day for five Niagara hockey players and their families.
The 2019 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection was held and four players from the Niagara North Stars organization and one from the Southern Tier Admirals were drafted.
Connor Federkow was the first local to have his named called as the London Knights drafted the St. Catharines native in the third round, 53rd overall.

Matteo Giampa of the Niagara North Stars

Playoff rivalry continues with IceDogs vs Generals

by Rod Mawhood

The Niagara IceDogs will take on the Oshawa Generals in the second round of OHL playoff action. It’s almost becoming a spring tradition. For the sixth time since 2011, the Niagara IceDogs and Oshawa Generals will face each other in Ontario Hockey League playoff action. This time it’s in the OHL Eastern Conference semi-finals which […]

The Niagara IceDogs will take on the Oshawa Generals in the second round of OHL playoff action.

Buffalo Bisons baseball – the tradition continues

by Rod Mawhood

It may have a new name in 2019 but the product it houses is still the same – a great baseball experience.
Buffalo Bisons baseball inside what is now called Sahlen Field.
In fact, professional baseball in Buffalo dates back to 1877. The current Bisons were born in 1979 when the then-Eastern League AA team was formed in the city.

sahlen field

IceDogs win Central Division – open playoffs Thursday night at home

by Rod Mawhood

The Niagara IceDogs capped off a very successful regular season with a number of milestones as they now prepare for what many are predicting to be a long playoff run.
Firstly, they claimed the Ontario Hockey League Central Division crown for the first time (and second time in Niagara IceDogs history) since 2012.
Secondly, the club also featured three 100-point scorers as Jason Robertson won the OHL scoring title with 117 points, including 79 in just 38 games since coming to Niagara in a trade with Kingston last November.

icedogs playoffs

GOJHL Golden Horseshoe Conference semi-finals begin tonight

by Rod Mawhood

There was not much suspense in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League – Golden Horseshoe Conference – quarter-finals, but that will likely change in the semi-finals which begin tonight on two fronts.
Three of the four teams in the semis advanced with four-game sweeps in their opening round playoff series.
The top seeded Niagara Falls Canucks swept Lockport, second ranked St. Catharines toppled Welland in four straight games, while number three Hamilton got by Fort Erie in four as well.

Niagara Falls goalie Zachary Moore will look to backstop the top-seeded Canucks through the semi-finals against Pelham.       

Fergie Jenkins on his new book and St. Catharines based foundation

by Rod Mawhood

How many people can honestly say they knew the first Canadian ever to win a Cy Young award has a connection to St. Catharines?

Thought so.

Ferguson Jenkin’s Foundation is alive and well, and is indeed located in the Garden City.

The 76-year old Chatham, Ontario native now calls Arizona home, but recently told the Niagara Sports Report on 610 CKTB how the foundation formed in St. Catharines.

fergie jenkins

The Merritton /Wissahickon hockey exchange is one for the record books

by Rod Mawhood

Fifty-five years and counting.
Although not officially declared, the Merritton Athletic Association/Wissahickon Skating Club hockey exchange is the longest tenured exchange in North America if not the world.
What begin in 1964 has become an annual event every February featuring two teams from both organizations – in the peewee and bantam age group – travelling to each other’s home rinks and playing a weekend of hockey which features an exhibition game, championship game, banquet and all the life lessons and friendships one can imagine.

merriton hockey

Ken Murray’s path into the Ontario Basketball Hall of Fame a unique one

by Rod Mawhood

His resume speaks for itself.
And Monday night, fittingly on a basketball court, Ken Murray was inducted into the Ontario Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Brock Badgers legend was officially recognized at centre court Monday night at Scotiabank Arena when the Toronto Raptors hosted the Brooklyn Nets.

Ken Murray recognized at Monday night’s Toronto Raptors game.

Swiss forward may be the best European player ever drafted by the IceDogs

by Rod Mawhood

It’s one thing to come to a new country and visit, but it’s a whole other level when you move to Canada to play hockey and everything that comes with that.
New food. New culture. Billets. New teammates.
The list goes on and on.
Enter Swiss native, and Niagara IceDogs forward, Kyen Sopa.

Kyen Sopa

River Lions name Victor Raso Head Coach and General Manager

by Rod Mawhood

When one of the top names in the history of Canada Basketball endorses you, you know the Niagara River Lions made the right choice in naming Victor Raso as their new Head Coach and General Manager earlier this week.
“He’s been around the game his entire life, and this is the next step,” said Canadian national team head coach and current NBA – Charlotte Hornets – assistant coach Jay Triano.
“He has the attitude of a coach and isn’t afraid to keep learning.”


IceDogs ALL IN this season

by Rod Mawhood

If there was any doubt about the Niagara IceDogs intentions this season, they were put to bed this week.
The IceDogs acquired two more National Hockey League drafted players giving them a total of nine on their 21-man roster.
General Manager Joey Burke’s latest deal involved a trade with Oshawa Generals.


Pair of Niagara IceDogs playing at World Juniors

by Rod Mawhood

The Niagara IceDogs are well represented at the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship.
No fewer than three IceDogs were named to their respective countries teams.
Forward Jason Robertson is playing for Team USA, defenseman Daniel Bukac for the Czech Republic, while Kyen Sopa did make the Swiss team but was sent back to Niagara after sustaining a minor injury during training camp.

jason robertson

IceDogs enter the holiday break on a high

by Rod Mawhood

Niagara IceDogs entered the holiday break as one of the hottest teams in the Ontario Hockey League.
The IceDogs picked up 15 of a possible 16 points over their last eight games to close out the unofficial first half of the season sporting a (20-7-5) overall record in the OHL Eastern Conference standings.
And they did that without icing a complete line-up for the majority of their first 32 games.
In fact, only five Niagara players have suited up for every game thus far this season.
“Yes, we’re very happy where we are at,” said IceDogs head coach Billy Burke. “We have dealt with adversity and injuries all year and to finish with 20 wins and only seven regulation losses is a great accomplishment.”


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