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.



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