Monday, September 05, 2011
Belleville Bulls 2011-2012
You will need a program to follow the exploits of the Belleville Bulls at the beginning of this season. The personnel have changed radically, for a variety of reasons. There has been a significant injection of new blood, undoubtedly for the better.
The last couple of years have been trying for the Bulls, and expectations are that this year’s squad will fare better than last year’s team. The Bulls squeaked into the playoffs last year, only to be skunked by the St. Michael’s Majors in the first round. That will not happen this year.
Last Sunday, the Bulls hosted the Oshawa Generals at the Quinte Sports Centre. The Generals are expected to do very well this year. Although they did not dress their full contingent, they played well against the Bulls.
The Bulls were rocked with two key injuries last week. First of all, returning defenseman Branden Morris tore his Achilles tendon, and will not dress until after Christmas, if at all this season. Secondly, Russian-born Danny Zharkov, who looked great in pre-season scrimmages, went down with a broken clavicle, and will miss several weeks.
The Bulls dressed backup goaltender John Chartrand, and he backstopped the team to a 6-3 victory over the Gens. Still early in the pre-season, the win had to be a confidence booster for the Bulls.
This coming Saturday, the Bulls will play the Kingston Frontenacs in Wellington at 7:00pm. Yes, you did read that correctly. This is a first. Never before has there been an Ontario Hockey League game of any kind in Prince Edward County.
It will give many Bulls fans a chance to see the Essroc Centre, often referred to as the “New Duke Dome” for the first time. The rink has proven to be almost perfect for the Dukes. Many scouts, coaches, managers, and other hockey authorities have nothing but praise for the new structure. “It is expected to accommodate hockey and other community activities for the next fifty years,” facility manager Andrew Morton told me recently.
The entire facility is worth a gander, for any of you who have not had the opportunity to view the place.
The Bulls and the Frontenacs have had a great rivalry ever since the Bulls entered the OHL. Several players and non-playing personnel have spent winter evenings on both sides of the rink. Larry Mavety has likely spent more time behind both benches than any other coach or manager. A member of the Belleville Sports Hall of Fame, “Mav’ grew up in Belleville, and distinguished himself as an athlete. He was an outstanding ball player, and spent his winters away from home as a professional hockey player. After many years as a coach and manager of the Fronts, he currently serves as a consultant for the team.
There will be many new faces in the Bulls’ lineup this coming season: Jordan Subban, the third brother to dress for the team, Garrett Hooey, Brady Austin, Simon Gronvaldt, and Chartrand. Rookie prospects include Mack Lemmon, Jay Doherty, and Alex Carnevale. Returnees Brendan Gaunce, Luke Judson, Austin Brassard, Carter Sandlak, and Michael Curtis should have a significant impact on the Bulls’ fortunes this year.
Tickets now available at Lavender Furniture.
September 5, 2011