For whatever reason, the GOJHL doesn’t qualify as an “elite” league under provincial guidelines. Photo credit: Pexels/Tony Schnagl They’re ready to play, and wish they could be. The latest COVID-19 restrictions meant that all six of the Niagara-based Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) Golden Horseshoe Conference teams had their seasons paused for at […]
NFL Wild Card Weekend is set. Locally, the Buffalo Bills will host the New England Patriots on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 8:15 pm. It will be the two teams’ third meeting in just five weeks. Photo credit: AP/Steven Senne The NFL is calling it ‘Super Wild Card Weekend.’ For the first time the league’s […]
Photo credit: Twitter/Niagara IceDogs The latest COVID-19 protocols across the province have put a pause on local sports here in Niagara. Arenas and gym doors are locked, while minor hockey, basketball, volleyball and curling have had the rest of their seasons either postponed or canceled. The Brock University Badgers and Niagara College Knights have […]
The Bills clinched a playoff berth Sunday with their win over the Falcons. If Buffalo beats the New York Jets on Jan. 9, the team wins the AFC East division for the second consecutive year. Photo credit: USA Today Sports/Mark Konezny One week. That’s all that remains in the 2021-22 NFL regular season. And […]
St. Catharines’ Kristen Kit (bottom, second from right) winning Olympic gold with the women’s eight rowing crew was one of only several momentous sports accomplishments achieved by an athlete with a direct Niagara connection in 2021. Photo credit: Canadian Olympic Committee/Lean Hennel It’s hard to believe that 2022 is here. 2021, despite its cancellations, […]
CEBL continues to garner respect across the basketball world. Photo credit: Niagara River Lions It was an early Christmas present for a former Niagara River Lion, and the organization. Two days before the holiday, the River Lions were thrilled to announce that Javin DeLaurier signed with the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball League […]
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Niagara Region, not a sport was playing, not even on the TV at the Merritton Legion The stockings were hung by the Meridian Centre with care, In hopes that sports soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their River Lions beds […]
Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. The Flames franchise currently has over 30 members, including Sutter, in Covid protocol. The NHL, NBA, and NFL are all suffering case surges and havibg to postpone games due to the pandemic’s latest wave. Photo credit: NHL Perhaps it’s time to change the name Covid-19. The average person doesn’t […]
Photo credit: Boxing Ontario Fans of the sweet science and cage fighting will have their fill this weekend in Niagara. Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) are front and centre in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls starting Friday evening. ‘Murphy’s Gloves’ is an annual fundraiser that supports youth initiatives at the St. Catharines Boxing […]
Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (8) hugs linebacker Curtis Newton (44) after losing the 108th CFL Grey Cup at home in Hamilton to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. The overtime loss came shortly after the Buffalo Bills suffered their own heartbreaking OT defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers […]
Participants enjoy a match at the Niagara Falls Curling Club (NFCC). Photo credit: Facebook/NFCC Fresh off the Canadian Olympic Trials, in which Jennifer Jones and Brad Gushue earned the right to represent the Red and White in Beijing, the sport of curling continues to grow in Niagara. Stephen Fish is a coach, promoter, and […]
Valvano of St. Catharines (#29, seated front-centre), Andrews of Niagara Falls (#20, seated front-right) bring home Canadian university football championship as part of powerhouse Western Mustangs squad. Photo credit: Western Mustangs There were two local players crowned Vanier Cup champions this past Saturday in Quebec City. Fifth year full back Antonio Valvano of St. […]
It’s been an impressive return to sports for a number of Brock Badgers teams. Currently, no less than five of Brock’s sports programs are ranked in the Top-5 of the U Sports weekly rankings, including the women’s volleyball team (pictured). Photo credit: Brock Athletics The global pandemic shutdown Badgers Athletics in March of 2020. Twenty […]
Photo credit: Pexels/Bk Aguilar Signing up for or participating in sports may not be as easy as most would think, especially here in Niagara. That according to the Ontario Sport Network (OSN), which recently announced the launch of a new awareness campaign. ‘This is Your Sport’ highlights the importance of sport and recreation across […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Mike McRae (centre-left) during his time as lead pitching coach at VCU. McRae, originally from Niagara Falls, was recently named head coach of the College of William & Mary baseball squad. Photo credit: Twitter/VCU Baseball On Tuesday, it was announced that Niagara Falls, Ontario native Mike McRae will serve as the new head coach […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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) […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 – […]
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 […]
Just four weeks after an excellent performance at the U.S. Open, Mackenzie Hughes was still playing great golf last weekend entering the final round of the storied British Open. Hughes was seven under-par after three days and entered the tournament’s fourth round tied for fifth.
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.
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 […]
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.
She was sitting in a restaurant with her husband three years ago when the proverbial lightbulb went off for Dale Melnick.
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.
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.
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.
Just after 4 p.m. EST on Sunday the retiring CEO of the USGA (United States Golf Association), Mike Davis, stepped up to the 1st tee announcer’s microphone at Torrey Pines Golf Course in California and said, “from Canada, Mackenzie Hughes”.
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s something that inflicts the majority of the population at some point in their lives.
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’
It’s hard to believe that the Buffalo Bisons are entering their ninth season of affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays.
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.
When Michael Nicholson (BA ’70) was named captain of what was then known as the Brock Generals men’s hockey team in the fall of 1968, his teammate Michael Rohatynsky (BA ’71) thought little other than it was a deserving honour.
“At the time when Mike was named captain, we didn’t see it as a big deal,” says Rohatynsky. “No question Mike was our leader and he had every right to be our captain.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
Chris Trivieri’s job isn’t for everyone, but for him and the athletes under his wing, it means everything in the world.
As the head athletic therapist for the Niagara IceDogs Trivieri (BPhEd ’12) never stops brainstorming worse-case scenarios.
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.
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.
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.
Like all recreational activities, especially those played indoors, Niagara’s curling clubs have had to make several modifications in order to have their dedicated members return to the ice this season.
While membership at local clubs is not surprisingly down, club managers have gone above and beyond to ensure a safe and fun return to play.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday Sept. 29 will see the running of the 85th Prince of Wales Stakes in Fort Erie.
The race is the second jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown and this year’s running will have some local flavour as Truebelieve, owned by Centennial Farms (Niagara), will be in the starting gate.
The Brock men’s hockey team recruited a power forward from Québec with a unique connection to the University.
D’Artagnan Joly, who was drafted by the National Hockey League’s Calgary Flames, is the great grandson of Brock’s founding president, James A. Gibson, whom the Brock Library is named after. Gibson, who held office before his retirement in 1974, passed away in 2003.
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.
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.
With all the great hockey players who donned the famous blue and white jersey throughout the team’s storied history, no player had ever scored 50 goals until 1981-82 when Rick Vaive scored 54 times. In fact, he did it three years in a row scoring 51 and 52 the following two seasons. Then, just a few seasons later, he had the captain’s C taken off his jersey and was callously shipped out of town.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Niagara’s minor hockey players and parents have been eagerly awaiting news from their respective associations as to what this year’s season will look like. While normally this time of year tryouts for Niagara’s boys and girls travel teams would be ramping up in most rinks around the region, they remain fairly quiet for now. St. Catharines isn’t even putting their ice in until tomorrow – one of the last cities in the province to do so.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Logan Thompson’s time with the Brock Badgers may have been brief, but he credits the University with playing a pivotal role in him landing a contract with the National Hockey League’s Vegas Golden Knights.
The 23-year-old Calgary native signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the NHL franchise July 13.
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.
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.
The new Ontario Performance Centre officially has a home as Row Ontario announced on Friday that the City of Welland submitted a winning bid to become the host.
Welland will become the home of all Row Ontario proprietary events, as well as the Ontario Performance Centre, which includes the new Ontario Academy of Rowing. According to a statement Welland had all the facilities and benefits Row Ontario was looking for in a host.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The following is a special Father’s Day edition of our sports column by Niagara Independent sports reporter Rod Mawhood.
With Niagara residents enduring weeks of COVID-19 related lockdowns and isolation, many are wondering if they will see their favourite hockey player shoot a puck or watch their team raise the beloved Stanley Cup over their heads.
Since March 12, the NHL placed its season on hold just as leagues across the world began to respond to the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic. So far, no return date has been announced by governmental authorities or the NHL.
There will be no fall season for Brock Badgers student-athletes to compete in this year.
Earlier this week, Ontario University Athletics (OUA) announced the cancellation of its sport programming and championships up until Dec. 31, 2020 based on provincial public health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar announcements were made by other provincial governing bodies across the country Monday, and U SPORTS announced that all fall national championships were also cancelled.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Softball Canada, in consultation with the 2021 Canada Games Host Society and the Provincial/Territorial Softball Organizations, has made the decision to cancel both the U14 and U16 Boys Canadian Fast Pitch Championships that were scheduled to take place from August 5 to 9, 2020 at Southward Park in Grimsby and at Jordan Lions Park in Lincoln.
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
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.
It’s not always easy for professional athletes to make a successful transition from playing the sport they love to a completely different career – one that probably won’t come with nice hotels, travel, being asked for an autograph and the thrill of scoring a goal or winning a championship in front of thousands of fans. But for most athletes the reality is there will be, has to be, a life after sport.
It was starting out to be a great season of Division 1 college baseball for Niagara Falls native Owen Diodati. He had a spectacular debut with the Alabama Crimson Tide where Diodati plays left field and is a designated hitter in his sophomore year. Then, like everywhere else in the world, the season came to an abrupt halt with the onset of a global pandemic. While most people are self isolating with family in their homes, the young Canadian is stuck in Alabama away from his parents and living with a teammate’s family.
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.
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.
Despite lacking a first round pick (thanks to a blockbuster trade up for top-tier receiver Stefon Diggs), the Buffalo Bills managed to turn in a solid scorecard for this year’s NFL draft.
With the 54th overall selection, Buffalo nabbed 21-year-old defensive end out of Iowa, A.J. Epenesa. Standing 6’ 5”, weighing 280 lb., the former Hawkeye is massive. What he lacks in flash and burst, he makes up for in power and rush versatility.
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.
The Brock Badgers didn’t let the cancellation of their annual awards gala stop them from celebrating their student-athletes.
The Badgers took to social media to hold a virtual gala, hosted by Matt Bonomi of Brock TV, in order to recognize and pay tribute to Brock’s outstanding 2019-20 season.
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.
He wasn’t very big in stature. In fact, by today’s standards he’d be considered a very small NHL defenseman. But what he lacked in height he more than made up with his huge heart and infectious smile. Pat Stapleton, listed at 5’8”, who patrolled the blue line for the St. Catharines Teepees before landing in the windy city to become a Chicago Blackhawk, passed away last week. He was 79 years old.
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.
Athletic events have all but disappeared amidst the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, leaving fans, players, coaches, and multi-billion dollar operations in limbo.
Will there be a return to relative normalcy any time soon? Or will sporting in Canada and the United States remain on indefinite hiatus for the foreseeable future?
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.
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.
Looking to build on last year’s 10-6 playoff-worthy season, the Buffalo Bills made some major moves recently.
Perhaps the most notable acquisition saw the Bills trade for wide receiver Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings. The Bills gave up their 2020 first, fifth and sixth round draft picks and a fourth in 2021 in the exchange. Diggs, who boasts 30 career touchdowns and is coming off of two consecutive seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards, will help beef up a lacklustre Bills receiving corps that ranked 26th in passing last season.
Ontario Hockey League Commissioner David Branch announced on Wednesday that the 2019-20 OHL regular season is done.
Following a meeting with the OHL Board of Governors and consultation with medical professionals, it was determined that the remaining 56 games of the 2019-20 OHL Regular Season schedule will not played.
The Niagara North Stars and Southern Tier Admirals were supposed to be heading to Toronto next week to participate in the OHL Cup. Like many sporting events and tournaments the OHL Cup has been cancelled. It’s a big tournament from a team perspective but as individual players, it’s also one of the most important tournaments of the year as it’s the last time scouts will see the players in game situations prior to the Ontario Hockey League draft which takes place April 4.
In a statement organizers said, “Since the start of the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19, the OHL and GTHL have closely monitored the rapidly evolving situation with a view to the health and safety of players and their families, team and league staff, on and off ice officials, fans and the general public.”
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.
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.
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.
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?
It wasn’t that long ago that Niagara Falls native Owen Diodati had a tough decision to make; One that most teenagers or adults will never have to make in a lifetime. Sign with a professional baseball team and bank a cool million bucks or go to college to play ball. Diodati turned down the money and a chance to become a Toronto Blue Jay and instead head to Alabama and play for the Crimson Tide.
This past weekend reaffirmed his decision. Not that there was much doubt.
The Brock Badgers wrestling team will be aiming for its seventh-straight national title as it hosts the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships at Brock University Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22.
Both the men’s and women’s teams head into the championships ranked No. 1 in the country, having recently won their fifth and sixth-consecutive provincial titles, respectively, in dominating fashion.
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.
There will be a Brock Badger on the field when 20 international soccer teams clash at the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in the Dominican Republic from Feb. 22 to March 8.
Brock midfielder Arnelle Douglas, a second-year Humanities student from Bowmanville, was recently named to the Trinidad & Tobago U20 squad that will compete for a chance to qualify for the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in August.
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.
The essence of family was on full display during Seniors Night at Bob Davis Gymnasium.
The Brock men’s and women’s basketball teams celebrated their senior players with a pair of wins. The men beat the York Lions 94-81 in front of a sold-out crowd while the women defeated York 73-55..
The Badgers men honoured senior players Tyler Brown and Mitch Saunders, including Operations Coordinator William Gatchalian, during a pre-game ceremony prior to tip off.
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.
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.
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.
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.
He didn’t see nearly as much ice time as he would with his club team the Niagara IceDogs but Akil Thomas sure made the most of it.
Thomas, a fourth line forward for the Canadian junior team that captured gold this past weekend in a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Russia, scored the game winning goal late in the third period on a partial breakaway that required quick thinking and lots of skill.
Niagara IceDogs’ forward and Los Angeles Kings second round draft pick Akil Thomas celebrated his birthday in fine style yesterday turning in a solid effort helping his Canadian teammates secure a never-in-doubt 6-1 quarter-final victory over Slovakia.
Thomas has seen more ice time as the tournament has progressed and sources tell The Niagara Independent that the skilled forward is a highly regarded by bench boss Dale Hunter. The Canadian kids will now head to the semi-finals (Saturday at 1 p.m.) where they will face a much stiffer challenge in the Fins who knocked off the Americans 1-0 in their quarter final game. The other semi-final will feature a classic showdown between Russia and Sweden.
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.
When the Brock Badgers women’s basketball team return from the holiday break to start the 2020 portion of their season, their first home game of the new year will be the latest edition of the Paint the Meridian Red game back at the Meridian Centre on Saturday, Jan. 11.
The team has come a long way in the past two years. Brock’s women’s basketball team headed into the holiday break riding a six-game winning streak. Their 9-1 record has them ranked first in the OUA Central division and No. 9 in the nation.
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.
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.
Niagara’s two minor midget AAA hockey clubs are having themselves solid seasons. Currently both are in the top three of the standings with the Southern Tier Admirals sitting comfortably in first place while the Niagara North Stars are in third. It’s an important year for the 15 year-olds as they hope to catch the eye of the scouts and get drafted into the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
Both teams are now past the half way point in their respective seasons and for Niagara North’s head coach Matt Miller things have gone pretty much according to plan. “We’re right where I expected us to be. We’ve been playing extremely well,” said Miller.
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.
There were nearly 300 high school student athletes braving the cold wind and the slippery snow covered trails in Sudbury at the recent Ontario high school (OFSAA) cross country championships. In the end, it was St. Cathairnes’ own Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs that captured the novice boys gold medal and the overall boys title while also showing a very strong performance on the girls side. The Bulldogs finished just one point away from the combined championship taking home silver.