Local teams gear up for run at Silver Stick

Section: 
Sports

By Josh Howald

Starting Sunday, no less than six local squads will be seeking Silver Stick success.

The 29th annual Kincardine Regional Silver Stick will kick off Sunday, drawing 50 teams for four days of minor hockey action in Kincardine, Tiverton and Ripley.

Last year, it was the Timber Mart bantam Kinucks that kept a Silver Stick banner in Kincardine. The bantams advanced to the International Silver Stick finals with an exciting 3-1 win over Tavistock in the tournament finale in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Davidson Centre. The Legion peewee Kinucks also played for a tournament title, but were defeated by Penetang in a heartbreaking loss.

The Silver Stick annually brings some excitement to local arenas, and this year will be no different. In fact, there will be even more excitement for local hockey fans this year with more local teams in the hunt. Last year, Kincardine’s novice, peewee and bantam rep teams were in the tournament. This year, those three teams return, joined by the Ripley novices, the Ripley Legion peewees and a second Kincardine entry in the peewee division.

As usual, the novice games will be played in Ripley, while the peewee games take place in Tiverton and the bantam games in Kincardine. All of the tournament finals will be played at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine on Wednesday. The Kincardine Independent has published a full tournament schedule for your convenience in this week’s edition.

Here’s a quick look at each team heading into the 29th annual Kincardine Regional Silver Stick.

KINCARDINE HOME HARDWARE NOVICES

The Kincardine Home Hardware novices head into the Silver Stick with a solid 15-9-2 record. However, the Kinucks have dropped three of their last five games.

Playing in the Novice B division, the novices will open the Silver Stick at 9 a.m. on Monday morning in Ripley against Hanover. Kincardine has faced Hanover once this season. That game ended in a draw. Later in the day, at 4:15 p.m. to be specific, Kincardine will face Paris, an unknown for the Kinucks. The novices will play a third and final preliminary game on Tuesday at 11 a.m. against Tavistock. Tavistock and Kincardine have not met yet this season.

The novices are coached by Art Houghton, with help from Jeremy McQuillin, Chris Beddington, Pete MacDonald and Cory Cuyler.

RIPLEY NOVICE WOLF CUBS

The Ripley novice Wolf Cubs will definitely be considered an underdog in this year’s Silver Stick tournament. Ripley remains winless heading into competition in the Novice C Division at 0-9-3, but things aren’t as bleak as they might appear.

Those three ties came against the three teams they are scheduled to face in the preliminary portion of the tournament. Toss in the advantage of playing on home ice, and the Wolf Cubs just might be able to make some noise this week. Ripley will first meet Minto at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. Then, at 2:15 p.m. the same day, the Wolf Cubs will face Seaforth. Ripley has met both those teams once this season, with each game ending in a draw. Then on Monday, the novices will take on Blyth-Brussels at 10 a.m. Ripley has played that team three times this season, losing twice and having one end in a draw.

No question this is a Ripley team - the Wolf Cubs are coached by a more than capable staff of Shea Armstrong, Brent Armstrong, Joel Armstrong and Mike Smith.

KINCARDINE LEGION PEEWEES

The Kincardine Legion peewee Kinucks appear to be in good shape heading into the Peewee B Silver Stick. The Kinucks have a respectable 12-9-5 record, and consistently get top notch goaltending from the tandem of Ryan Tanner and Gordie Reaume. Both netminders are capable of stealing a game.

It won’t be easy, but the peewees should be able to advance past the preliminary round of the Silver Stick. They kick things off at 9 a.m. on Sunday in Tiverton against Walkerton. Kincardine is 1-1-1 against the Capitals this season. At 5:20 p.m., also on Sunday, the peewees will take on another WOAA rival in Mitchell. Mitchell and Kincardine have split games this year. Then on Monday at 5:20 p.m., the Kinucks will take on the always strong Tavistock.

Dustin Catto is the bench boss for the peewee Kinucks, helped by Warren Beisel, Dane Dunlop, Brandon Dunlop and Mike McDonald.

 KINCARDINE 2 PEEWEES

To say this team is a bit of an unknown would be an understatement. There actually is no additional entry, or “AE” team at the peewee level in Kincardine. Instead, this team has been selected from the KMHA’s two local league teams.

They have a total of one game under their belts, a 1-1 tie against Owen Sound on the road. The Silver Stick isn’t just a one-time shot for this team, however. They are scheduled to play in tournaments later this season in Oakville, Acton and Barrie.

This team will battle for the peewee C championship, beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday in Tiverton against Seaforth. On Monday, Kincardine will face Port Dover at 1:45. The team’s third game will be Tuesday at 9 a.m. against Norwich.

This team, coached by Doug MacTavish, will be an interesting one to watch.

RIPLEY LEGION PEEWEES

The Ripley Legion peewee Wolves will also be a bit of wild card in the peewee C division. The Wolves have not faced any of the three teams they are scheduled to play in the preliminary portion of the Silver Stick. Ripley heads into the tournament with a 5-10 record, and having lost three of its last four games.

Ripley will first face West Grey at 1:45 p.m. Sunday in Tiverton, followed by a 9 a.m. game on Monday against the defending champions from South-Bruce.  The Wolves will then take on Drayton on Tuesday at 1:45 p.m.

The Ripley peewee Wolves are coached by Troy Snobelen, Mike Harper, Ben Larsen, Blair Pollack and Julie Twolan.

KINCARDINE TIMBER-MART BANTAMS

Finally, we get to the defending Regional Silver Stick champions, the Kincardine Timber Mart bantam Kinucks.

The bantams are 10-11-3 so far this season, and have lost two of their last three games. That said, the bantams will meet some familiar opponents in the preliminary round, have home ice advantage and certainly weren’t the pre-tournament favourites last year either.

The bantams will start the tournament on Sunday morning with a 9 a.m. game against BCH at the Davidson Centre. The Kinucks are 1-1 against BCH this year. Then, immediately following the opening ceremonies (which begin at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday and as always, will feature the Kincardine Scottish Pipe Band) the bantams will lock horns with Saugeen Shores. The teams have met once this season, with Saugeen Shores coming out on top. Tuesday, Kincardine plays Listowel at 1:45 p.m. Those teams have met once this season, with Kincardine defeating Listowel in their barn early in the season.

Larry Reid coaches the bantam Kinucks, with help from Jim Coady, Mark Long, Tim Luinstra and George McBride.

As you can see, there will be no shortage of good hockey at local rinks over the next week. There is no admission charge at any of the three arenas for the first three days of action. On Wednesday, a $5 charge will get you a full day of championship hockey games.

For tournament updates, photos and stories, visit The Kincardine Independent’s website, www.independent.on.ca, as well as our Facebook page and our Twitter account twitter@kincintheslot. The Kincardine Independent is proud to once again be the official newspaper of the Kincardine Regional Silver Stick tournament.

FOR A COMPLETE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE, PICK UP A COPY OF THIS WEEK"S PRINT EDITION OF THE KINCARDINE INDEPENDENT IN STORES NOW!