Tuesday, April 29, 2014


The Dudley-Hewitt Cup-2014


In 1981, Larry Mavety was behind the bench for the Belleville Bulls. In the spring of that year, they defeated the Gloucester Rangers by four games to three to win the Dudley Hewitt Cup. The Bulls travelled to Halifax to play for the Centennial Cup. They were defeated by the Prince Albert Raiders, led by tournament MVP James Patrick. Greg Paslwaski and Dave Tippet also played for the Raiders.


 Dr. Bob Vaughan was the owner of the Bulls at that time. He has fond memories of the tournaments. “Brett Kelleher was our MVP; unfortunately, he suffered a serious eye injury at the end of the season, ending his hockey career. I still keep in touch with him, and a few of the other guys. Needless to say, it was a big thrill for the players, the staff, and our fans.”


More than twenty years later, in 2003, the Wellington Dukes travelled to Fort Frances to play for the Cup. The Dukes defeated the North Bay Skyhawks to earn the right to play for the Canadian Championship in Prince Edward Island.


The Dukes also won the Dudley Hewitt in 2011, in Huntsville, Ontario. This year, the community of Wellington is hosting the event at their recently constructed arena, the Essroc Community Centre. There are still a few of us who simply refer to the building as “The Duke Dome”.


Under the present format, the trophy is awarded to the Central Canadian Junior A Champion. The winner comes from a round robin format, with a host team and the winners from the three competing leagues: the Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, and the Superior International Junior Hockey League. The winner of the Dudley Hewitt moves on to the Canadian Championship for the Royal Bank Cup.


In years past, teams from Quebec and the Maritimes have competed for the Dudley Hewitt Cup. The trophy is named after two pioneers of amateur hockey in Ontario, George Dudley and W. A. Hewitt.


Last year, the Minnesota Wilderness of the Superior International League defeated the St. Michael’s Buzzers in North Bay to win the Cup. In 2012, the Soo Thunderbirds from the Northern Ontario League defeated the Stouffville Spirit of the Ontario League.


The Belleville team that won the Cup in 1981 was led by Brett Kelleher who had 85 points in 31 games. Joe McCallion had 71 points in the 42 games he played. Belleville’s John Ricketts also suited up for those junior Bulls. Other notables included: Ben Kelly, John Murphy, John Mowatt, and Ian MacInnis. Dan Burrows and Wayne Burrows shared most of the goaltending duties. Bobby Hull’s son Blake played 15 games that season for the Bulls.


In 2003, the Dukes were led by Ryan Woodward. “Woody” racked up 89 points in 49 league games. Brent Varty, Liam Reddox, Peter Magagna, C. J. Thompson…those players followed Woodward on the points list. Tyler Rivers led the defencemen in scoring. Tyler Lyon, Jeff Caron, Derek Smith, Preston Kivell, and Ron Cordes made up the rest of the defence corps.


Following their Dudley Hewitt victory, that crew headed to Prince Edward Island for the Royal Bank Cup. That began a week never to be forgotten by hundreds of faithful Duke fans who made the trek to Charlottetown.


In 2011, the Dukes were led by Sean Rudy. Joe Zarbo, Steve Evans, Zack Blake, Darcy Murphy, Brian Bunnett, and Darcy Greenaway also contributed to the cause. Jordan Ruby started most of the games in goal, and shared the duties with Ryan McDonald. Following their Dudley Hewitt win in Huntsville, the Dukes headed west to Alberta for the Royal Bank Cup.


 The Dukes open the tournament on Tuesday evening against the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners. They face Fort Frances on Wednesday, and Toronto Lakeshore on Thursday. This marks the third trip to the Dudley Hewitt Cup for Dukes’ Coach Marty Abrams. The winner of this tournament heads west to Vernon, British Columbia for the RBC. Third time the charm?



James Hurst


April 28, 2014.



Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2014

Now that the regular season has wrapped up in the National Hockey League, it is time for coaches to rally the troops for the playoffs. A team must win sixteen games in order to win the Stanley Cup; however, each team will play a minimum of 16 games, with each series the best of seven. So…..potentially, that could mean an additional 28 games to bag the trophy. Overtime is also a little different in the playoffs, with five skaters instead of four. There are no shootouts. The team that scores first in overtime wins. In the recent St. Louis Blues victory, they player their longest game in history, after more than 100 minutes of hockey.

                                         Steen scored the overtime goal in the Blues' first win 

The coach has assembled his players following the last practice before the first game. He knows what it will take to win. “Guys,” he tells his eager listeners, “I want to share the secrets of our great game, so that you will have no trouble winning the Cup. Listen up.

“First of all, this is the only professional sport played on skates. So you need to skate well, and with good balance. Don’t take any foolish penalties. Don’t retaliate, at least not immediately. We need to use our experience, and our size.”

The rookie raises his hand. “Coach, we are small, and we are young.”

“Yes,” replies the coach, “both good points. But we have young legs, and we are fast. We have great team chemistry, and we manage the puck well. We have great goaltending.

“We match up well with our opponents. We will need to block shots, and make the sacrifices when necessary. We must play with heart. Our power play needs to be effective, and we must kill all penalties to have a chance. Composure is important in these situations. Stay within yourself. Focus is important, too.”

Realizing that he is quickly losing the attention of his audience, he bangs his stick against the wall. “Boys, you will need to play with great determination. You have to give 110%. You must use everything in the tank. Take no prisoners. Finish your checks. Play all three zones of the rink effectively. Communicate with your teammates.”

As they left the dressing room, one of the players murmured, “Did he forget anything else?”

“Yes,” the coach hollered. “We need luck, and plenty of it. We need lucky bounces, and quirky deflections. We will win, with pure unmitigated luck.”

Not as easy as it looks.

James Hurst

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ryan Malone, In Search of Help

I am sure that it is most disconcerting to Steve Yzerman and the other brass at the Tampa bay Lightning to deal with the situation concerning forward Ryan Malone. Last Saturday, clipped a curb making a left turn, and Tampa Bay Police Lieutenant Paul Lusczynski pulled him over. The officer smelled alcohol on his breath, and Malone refused to take a test immediately. At the jail, Malone scored alcohol blood levels of 0.116 and 0.112, above the acceptable limit of 0.08. He was charged with “Driving Under the Influence”. When Lusczynski searched Malone’s pockets, he found 1.3 grams of cocaine. Malone was also charged with possession of cocaine.

The previous Tuesday, according to the Tampa Bay Times, he was charged with driving while under suspension. In recent months, he has been cited for failing to pay tolls, running a red light, and not having proof of insurance. He began the season playing on a line with Steven Stamkos, but he has been a healthy scratch recently. When he did play, he was on the fourth line.

The NHL is keeping its cards close to the vest. Bill Daly, the league VP: “His future playing status, both in the near term and during the playoffs, will be determined in accordance with the terms of our Substance Abuse and Behavior Health Program.” With an annual salary of 4.5 million dollars, there is a lot at stake for Malone.

Understandably, this will be a distraction to the Lightning as they prepare for the playoffs against the Habs. Malone fills a lot of space on the ice at 6’ 4”, and 225 pounds. He has played more than 600 NHL games, and will be 35 this December. He missed much of last season with “lower body” and shoulder injuries. In 57 games this year, he had just 15 points. That is a far cry from his best seasons with the penguins, when he averaged more than 70 points per season. His alleged behavior in this instance reflects on the entire team, and will make things more difficult at this time.

One can only hope that Malone gets the help he needs, clears up the mess that he has made, and resumes his career. For many professional athletes, careers are indeed short. They can run into injury, and a myriad of other distractions.

James Hurst
April 15, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ending the 2013-2014 Regular Season

                                                            Drew MacIntyre-Leafs

Last Thursday night, Leafs Coach Randy Carlyle decided to start Drew MacIntyre in goal. Without a great deal of fanfare, it was an important evening for the Leafs goalie. MacIntyre was drafted by the Red Wings in 2001. Since that time, he has logged an awful lot of ice time in many hockey leagues. As it turned out, he had to wait until he was thirty years old to get his first start in the NHL.

After the game he chatted with the media. “It’s been a long time, but it was awesome playing my first game. I was hoping it would be a win. That’s how I had envisioned it. I looked up at the end of the anthem and saw the Draft 2001 flag. I smiled at myself and said, ‘It’s been a fun ride.’ I found it so funny that I was playing my first game in this rink.”

I asked him for a quick photo as he returned to the dressing room. I mentioned that I came from Wellington. “I don’t know if you remember, but I played for the Trenton Sting when I was fifteen,” he told me with a slight smile. Sure enough, the NHL Official Guide confirmed this. My other main source of players and teams did not have the same information. In fact, hockeydb.com had no record of MacIntyre’s original foray into the hockey world. The entire year of 1998-1999 is missing from their archives.

MacIntyre skated briefly at the Dukes camp that season, and was a guest of Coach Marty Abrams. Marty had already signed Rob Gherson for the season, and released MacIntyre to the Sting. Gherson informed me that he and MacIntyre faced each other several times in the hockey wars, particularly in the American League. 

MacIntyre, a native of Charlottetown, PEI, played his major junior hockey in the Quebec League with Sherbrooke.  Most of his professional career has been in the American League, with four relief appearances in the NHL. He played 56 games in the ECHL, including 10 last year in Reading. He has played 46 games this year for the Marlies, with a sparkling goals-against-average of 2.49. With Bernier injured, he was called up to the Leafs for Thursday’s game.

Carlyle was politely infuriated with his team’s effort in the game, following a 4-2 loss to the Panthers. “I thought we would have a little bit more compassion for the goaltender that was going in the net for his first NHL start. We gave up eight quality scoring chances in the first period.” It has been a rocky road for the Leafs this year.

Playoffs begin Wednesday!

April 13, 2014.

Monday, April 07, 2014


Closing out the Hockey Season In Florida

As we enter the final week of hockey in the National Hockey League, there are a few playoff spots yet to be determined. Such is not the case for the Florida Panthers, as they saw their hopes slip away some time ago. Rather than languish in agony, the powers-that-be took to the phones and orchestrated a deal that will hopefully bring results next season. Results in the NHL mean playoffs, and that will fall squarely on the shoulders of Roberto Luongo next season.

He landed in Florida, for the second time, in a trade that saw former Belleville Bull Shawn Matthias head to Vancouver. Luongo is a seasoned veteran, but, as a goaltender, he likely has several good seasons ahead of him. He is a dedicated employee, and has never been faulted for lack of effort. You may recall that, at one time, the Canucks insisted that he be named captain of the team, indeed a rarity and an honour for a goaltender. It indicated that he is a leader, and that is something that the Panthers can use at this time.

After a recent 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames, Luongo faced the media in the Panthers’ dressing room. He stressed the positive side of things, somewhat difficult in the circumstances. He had robbed Mike Cammalleri on a breakaway in the third period, but the Panthers could not beat Flames’ starter Joey MacDonald. “You have to give their goalie credit,” he told me after the game. “A win would have been nice, but he really played well.” He went on to analyze the game in the current perspective. “At this point in the season, it’s about the process.”  The process necessitated by failing to make the playoffs.

He was returning after a brief stint on the sidelines with a mild concussion. He was bowled over by the Hurricanes’ Radek Dvorak on March 27th. “I think it was the original contact. My head hit the post on the way down, too, but it wasn’t as hard as the initial hit,” Luongo told the Sun Sentinel.

The Panthers are loaded with young talent, and the potential is there to make them serious contenders next year. As the season comes to a close, young players from San Antonio are given a chance to show their stuff. Quinton Howden, Bobby Butler, Colby Robak, and Vincent Trocheck have played less than 20 games in the NHL, but they are the future of these young Cats.  Jimmy Hayes brings size and grit to the lineup, and has developed a ‘Phil Esposito’ touch around the net. Translation? Let the puck hit you in the arse, then bang it into the net!

Jonathan Huberdeau was the rookie of the year last year, and he will be a leader next year. Former Kingston Frontenac Eric Gudbranson will help anchor the Panthers defense. But the Panthers truly need offensive talent, as their three top point-getters have about as many points as Sidney Crosby, combined. As in 35 points each. Ouch!!

The Leafs play the Panthers in Sunrise on Thursday night, a game that could decide the fate of the Blue and White.

On the south west side of the state, the Florida Everblades are in dire straights. They have dropped a couple of close decisions in the past week, and are in danger of landing out of the playoffs for the first time in team history. The recently landed Rob Kwiet, a former Wellington Duke, to shore up the defense. Kwiet has been impressive in his first few games with the ‘Blades. The ‘Blades must win all three of their remaining games, and hope that  the Fort Wayne Komets trip and stumble at the finish line to play in the post season. In all likelihood, Nathan Moon, Chris Auger, and their teammates will finish ahead of the Everblades.

                                                                          Chris Auger

Rob Kwiet is a well-travelled soul.  The sounds of “I’ve been everywhere, man” must echo, occasionally, inside his head. In the last ten years, he has seen the ice representing fifteen different teams, in five different leagues. He had two brief stints in the American Hockey League, but most of his time has been spent in the ECHL, from coast to coast.

Golf, anyone?

James Hurst

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