Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vees: Eastern Ontario hockey related-humour

It would be remiss not to pass along this gem from venerable Kingston sports scribe Pat Kennedy about the hometown Voyageurs vying to host the RBC Cup, the national Junior A championship, in some future spring:
"One obstacle to scale might be the availability of the K-Rock Centre, which is contractually obligated to save springtime ice time in the event the Kingston Frontenacs make the playoffs someday and — this is really stretching it — advance throughout."

(later on)

"... Cornwall hosted the 2008 RBC, prompting (Voyageurs owner Gregg) Rosen to remark that 'if Cornwall can host it, we can certainly host it. We have more to offer than Cornwall.' "
Cornwall-bashing is the ultimate low-hanging fruit, but that's neither here nor there. Here is hoping a bid by the Voyageurs for the Dudley Hewitt Cup (Central Canadian championship) or RBC Cup wouldn't get the boot before any other team's, which has been known to happen.

There is the potential to have a lot of cheap fun with the shinny study-in-contrasts, Champs vs. Chumps, which is unfolding in K-town.

Coach Evan Robinson's Vees, by reaching the semi-final at the RBC Cup, finished as the fourth-best Tier II Junior A team in the country. The Frontenacs finished with the fourth-worst record of any major junior team in Canada.* Oh, and the Frontenacs' floundering has contributed to the $43-million arena becoming a political pandora's box for city council and Mayor Harvey Rosen, the brother of the owner of the other junior hockey team which has won the hearts of some many sports likers. Good stuff.

To be fair, Harvey Rosen is great compared to other eastern Ontario mayors one could name.

As previously noted, the Vees' Ontario Junior Hockey League is realigning again, so next season they'll have Buffalo, New York, in their conference but not the significantly closer Wellington Dukes. The new Ontario Conference will consist of:
  • Buffalo, the league's lone American entry;
  • The cottage country teams: Aurora, Collingwood, Couchiching, Huntsville;
  • The NOT teams (as in North of Toronto): Bramalea, Brampton, Georgetown, Milton, Mississauga, Oakville, Vaughan, Villanova (located in King City)
  • Trenton, which used to be in Port Hope
Don't go looking for any geographical logic. The subtext is the OJHL has tension between franchises which are run more like a Junior A team in the West and a few which have Toronto-itis. The latter are loath to straying too far away from the GTA to play and/or are bankrolled by some rich hockey dad so his son and his buddies can play close to home. The teams in the new conference also want to use fewer 20-year-olds, as a selling point to get younger players who are going for NCAA scholarships (as the Kingston Whig-Standard reported, the Vees only used six 20-year-olds this season, three less than the max; one wonders if they wouldn't take advantage of this by recruiting overagers who would then play for Queen's the following season).

Robinson and his players have been thanked more than enough for their run. They don't need to be told that they renewed a lot of hometown pride which had lain dormant during Doug Springer and Larry Mavety's decade of dismalness. The hope, speaking as an expat, is that one day the Vees' success won't be a jumping-off point for to make light of the Limestone City's Light Brigade. Wait 'til next year, eh?

Vees' league takes on new look (Kingston Whig-Standard)


Sam said...

The new league system is a joke. Can you imagine playing in a league called "The Younger League"?

Anonymous said...

First with the cornwall bashing i think that is uncalled for.Cornwall while the fans may be to into the colts its great jr a market.For me the cup going there was a no brainer.As for kingston i am not sure what type of attendance the vs get.But i do think the rbc cup would do fine there.As for the new league set up they really had no choice.Some teams wanted to be in the central league and some did not.There does seem to be alot of heat between some teams.

sager said...

I don't think Gregg Rosen honestly meant to bash Cornwall, he was merely pumping up Kingston. The Cornwall comparison might hit a little close to home, but it would also be top-of-mind for someone in this corner of the country.

It might have been more politic to maybe say they compare well with Victoria, or Dauphin, Manitoba, the town of about 8,000 people which is hosting the 2010 RBC. That is a second guess, though.

Anyway, the upshot is Kingston/Napanee is doing well with major hockey events. Napanee had the girls U18 last fall and did a great job, Kingston had the Clarkson Cup and maybe should bid for a women's worlds or a world under-17 challenge.

Anonymous said...

I am sure he did not mean to bash cornwall.I worked for the nepean raiders for 4 years so i know how rabbit cornwall fans are.