COVID-19 and sports
The novel coronavirus is importantly the top topic of conversation these last couple of weeks and will be impacting our lives for the foreseeable future. The virus, of course, will have a huge bearing on sports and their fans. We can joke about sports fans’ withdrawal symptoms, no-hockey pools, no Raptors repeat, etc but perhaps we can put up with this inconvenience if we put things into perspective that we are being proactive. Better not to underreact, because once the horses are out of the barn!?
Below I have a bunch of info to report on from before this pandemic put an end to many recreational activities and thus, this column will be hard-pressed to report on the amazing things that our local athletes accomplish. However, I have always tried to recognize the efforts of individuals to stay active and healthy. With the idea of “social distancing” being batted around, what a better time to point out these individuals?
Part of our fight against this virus (not to mention the additive factors of colds and flus) is to keep our bodies and minds strong. This can be accomplished in many ways but it doesn’t have to be in a gym, rink or a court. If you or someone you know exemplifies being healthy and active please pass on some details, please! Stay safe, active and healthy, everyone!
March Break activity still on!
Although most of the planned recreational opportunities for this March Break have been cancelled Central Manitoulin does still have one energetic family-based activity. The Central Manitoulin Lions’ annual snow sculpture contest has already begun and has even been extended because of snow conditions. You can now register your family’s efforts right up until this Sunday morning, March 22 at 8 am. Please call or text Marcus Mohr at 249-878-1659.
The Panther atom team was peaking and poised to take serious runs for the championships in both their TOCs in Iroquois Falls last weekend, and at the divisional playoffs, planned to take place in two weeks. The fast skating squad knocked off the 1st place NC Coyotes in a 3-2 nail-biter a week ago Sunday to end a 9-2-1 2020 with a red hot 5-1-1 run in their last seven games. The stellar result saw them ending the 2019-2020 season 15-6-2, good for second place in their division. There will be an empty spot on the NEMI banner rail as Hockey Canada cancelled seasonal play Thursday, a measure to address the COVID-19 pandemic, nixing the TOCs hours before they were to commence. Chins up kids, you’ll get it done next year. Congratulations to Easton Assinewai, Jonah Balfe, Brynn Best, Jack Bridgeman, Ryan Carter, Spencer Cortes, Roen Deschenes, Maximus King, Liam Leclair, J.C. Paquette, Koda Peltier, Cohen Rajotte, Lincoln Rancourt, Bryden Romaniuk, Liam Stephens and Chase Taylor. This is not how anyone envisioned the season ending, but we’re all in uncharted waters now. Awesome season team, stay healthy!
The Panther peewees had a win, win, win and tie round-robin at their Tournament of Champions up in Iroquois Falls recently. The tie was against the Cochrane squad who they ended up playing with in the finals. The Panthers fired in a goal 10 minutes in the first but ref called it off to finish the opening stanza 0-0. Undaunted, the Panthers score two in the second and then Zachary Seguin gets the win on an empty netter. Hats off to team staff: Scot Hughson, Jason Hughson, Travis Orford, Jaqueline Carter and Daylin Orford. The team roster consists of Clayton Best, Keannu Bisschops, Zach Seguin, Ryland Priddle, Jack Carter, Liam Lariviere, Kyle Nodecker, William McComb, Mya Balfe, Zee Toulouse, Gage Hughson, Caleb Lockeyer, Noah Grenier, Corbin Best, Greyson Orford, Rylan Carrick, Kalli Jones and Izzy Hughson.
Congratulations to the 2019/20 Bantam Manitoulin Panthers, who worked hard and finished their season by bringing home the NDMHL Bev McIver Bantam II Division Trophy! Congrats to: Lucas W., Jorja P., Brett M., Ali L., Cole H., Annie B., Camryn R., Aiden C., Elijah L., Brodie P., Brooke G., Steven W., Davin D., Jordan C., John-Michael T., Marcus B. and Jake P.
Local AAA players
Mindemoya’s Liam Bridgeman and Carson Shawanda of Wiikwemkoong finished up their Sudbury Wolves Minor Midget AAA season in the Great Northern Midget League with a pair of losses to the first-place Major Midget Soo Greyhounds in Sault Ste. Marie last weekend. These games were indicative of a hard season, which saw the boys and their exclusively 2004 born teammates in uphill battles against teams made up of 2004, 2003 and 2002 born AAA players.
A good example of how this season played out was seen in Copper Cliff the Friday night prior when the boys faced the Timmins Majors. After an even first period saw them trailing 1-0, only outshot 10-9, the Timmins side shortened their bench to give their bigger, older players more ice and these older boys quickly took over the game. It was 5-0 before the second was out, and ended a disappointing 7-0, the shots a one-sided 40-22. Chins up, boys, this year may have been a tough row to hoe, but you and your teammates battled hard all season long and your individual games grew immensely. Best of luck to you both, wherever next season finds you.
AA local Lady Wolf
Delaney Bridgeman and her Sudbury Lady Wolves Bantam AA Tier 1 team had the final game in their best of three series for the Northern provincial playdowns on March 5 against the North Bay Ice Boltz. With the Boltz entering the match up three points to one, and only needing a tie to attain the four points needed to advance, a nervous Lady Wolves side gifted NB a power play and a near immediate 1-0 lead. Into the second, the Ice Boltz cemented that lead, scoring as the Lady Wolves again proved their own worst enemy, another bad penalty leading to the second power play goal. As time wound down in the third the Lady Wolves found themselves in deep, down 2-0, with imminent elimination now forcing desperation. With the goalie out and Delaney triple shifted to try and produce some much needed offense, the Sudbury side surrendered an empty netter to make it a 3–0 final. Eliminated from provincial play, their season now has only an Easter tournament in Brampton remaining. Good luck at the tourney and congrats on a great season girls!
After finishing three points out of the playoffs in their hyper competitive LLFHL Bantam AA Central division, Delaney Bridgeman and her Sudbury Lady Wolves AA Tier 1 teammates faced the North Bay Ice Boltz for the right to represent Northern Ontario in the provincial playdowns. In game one of a three game first to four points playdown format in Coniston, the SLW girls found themselves leading 2-1 well into the third period when an undisciplined head contact penalty behind the play left them short-handed for four minutes. North Bay evened the game just eight seconds into the first two minutes. The Sudbury side managed to kill the subsequent two minutes and the game wound down to a 2-2 tie.
In game 2 at Memorial Gardens in North Bay, the SLW side again jumped to a 1-0 lead, only to have NB fight back to tie it as a coaching mix-up left the Sudbury girls with only four skaters on the ice in an even strength situation. In the third, NB capitalized on Sudbury’s undisciplined play yet again, and went ahead by one with a power play marker. With five minutes to go, now down 2-1, and after the girls killed still another penalty, SLW had the goalie out for an extra attacker and were applying pressure. Just as a deft pass found one of SLWs better shooters, wide-open in the high slot, a mystery whistle halted play. Sudbury was deemed to have sent the extra attacker on before the referee felt the goalie was within a reasonable distance from the bench, the scoring chance was negated, and the faceoff moved to centre. Regaining control and removing the goalie, legally this time, ate up the remaining time and the SLW side was fell 2-1.
The final match-up, with North Bay up three points to one and only needing a tie to advance, took place in Coniston March 5. North Bay quickly jumped out to a 1-0 lead then cemented that lead with another in the second, both power play markers. A desperate SLW side down 2-0, again with the goalie out and this time triple shifting Delaney, gave up an empty netter to drop the decision 3–0 and were thus eliminated from provincial play. Congrats on a great season, Delaney and teammates!
A good sport is good for sports