Monday, February 25, 2013


South West Florida Hockey

In the past two weeks, several products from the ranks of Quinte hockey programs have enjoyed sunshine in South West Florida.

Last weekend, the Evansville Icemen faced off against the Florida Everblades on Friday and Saturday nights, at the Germaine Arena. Two players from the Icemen are familiar to hockey fans from the north: Dylan Clarke and Kevin Baker.

Baker, a Kingston native, played for the Belleville Bulls. Clarke played all of his minor hockey in the Quinte area, then headed off to Trenton to play his Junior hockey there. Two others were expected to hit the ice at the Germaine: Nathan Moon and former Dukes’ goalie Paul Karpowich. Both had been called up and did not skate here.

                                             Nick Walsh and his aunt, Christine Shannon

Last Tuesday, Nick Walsh was in town as a member of the Gwinnett Gladiators. Following the game, Nick greeted a host of friendly faces---family and friends from Tweed, Latta, Read, and metropolitan Marysville. Teams in the East Coast Hockey League have played more than fifty games, well into the season. Walsh has a dozen games to his credit, and is earning his ice team gradually.

Early in the third period, he scored a nifty goal for the Gladiators, and immediately gained the favour of the coaching staff. Midway through the third period, he knifed through the Blades defenders, but was thwarted by their goalie.

Walsh told me after the game that he enjoyed the extra playing time he was getting, also due to the fact that the team is a little short-handed. He gave credit to his linemates, Doug Jones and Casey Pierro-Zabotel for their efforts on the goal he scored. “They just told me to drive to the net and cause a ruckus.”

Walsh played his minor hockey with Johnny Foley. When the opportunity to move up to junior arrived, they both headed to Cobourg, and Walsh played four seasons with the Cougars. He moved on to the ECAC, and played four years for Dartmouth, once making it to the finals in Atlantic City.

                                                                    Dylan Clarke

Dylan Clarke also completed his education in the U. S. at the State University of New York at the Plattsburgh campus. Prior to that, he spent three full seasons with the Kingston Voyageurs.

                                                                      Kevin Baker

Kevin Baker spent a season with the Trenton Sting, then three full seasons with the Belleville Bulls. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1999, and played a couple of seasons in the American Hockey League. He then headed east to Acadia University, before continuing the hockey wars in the States and in Europe. Check “hockey” to learn the other dozen teams that Kevin has skated with. He played two seasons with the Everblades, and enjoyed the return visit last weekend.

Coach Rich Kromm was thrilled to pick up four points for the team’s efforts on the weekend. On Friday night, there were 20 attempts to score in the shootout before the IceMen triumphed. He commented on the play of his players from the Quinte area: “We picked up Dylan a couple of weeks ago, and he was the “Player of the Week” shortly after arriving. He said that the team traded for Baker from Orlando because “he is a proven scorer and a real character guy”.

The Gladiators return to the Germaine Arena this coming weekend. See you there!

James Hurst

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