Keeso added to Wall of Fame


By Josh Howald

Only one person was added to the Nicol Insurance Kincardine Bulldogs Wall of Fame this year, and it wasn't for his on-ice contributions. Jared Keeso may one day be on Canada's Walk of Fame, but for now he is happy to settle for a spot on the Kincardine Bulldogs Wall of Fame.

From left, Doug Kennedy, Jared Keeso, Brent Armstrong, Paul Catto and Cathy Alcombrack Saturday night at the Bulldogs annual awards banquet. (Josh Howald photo)


"You may know me as winner of the Bulldogs most colourful player award winner in 2002," quipped Jared Keeso before speaking to this year's crop of Provincial Junior Hockey League players at the team's banquet Saturday evening at the Davidson Centre.

Keeso is an award-winning actor, best known for his role as Don Cherry in the CBC mini-series about the hockey legend and as Wayne in Letterkenny, a show he came up with and writes, loosely based on his hometown of Listowel. He also played the lead role as Ben Chartier in the Montreal police series 19-2 and has appeared in numerous other television and movie productions.

Bulldogs General Manager Doug Kennedy recounted a story in which his acting future should have become apparent to the team. After injuring his shoulder in a preseason tournament in Woodstock, Cathy Alcombrack took him to the hospital. Keeso was crying in pain - until the nurses left. The tears stopped and he turned to Alcombrack and asked her if she thought the nurses bought the act.

"I remember (Keeso) took me into the zamboni room and told me he was quitting hockey and going to Juilliard. I said OK. Luckily I had watched a movie with Cathy at about that time so I actually knew what that was," said Kennedy.

"He didn't go to Juilliard, but within six months I started seeing him on television," said Kennedy. "That right there is enough. Jared Keeso is easily - by far - the most talked about former player in the history of the Kincardine Bulldogs."

Keeso, who attended the banquet with his parents and several of his former teammates from the 2002-2003 Bulldogs, told a half-dozen stories to the crowd of current players, parents and volunteers.

"The most fun I ever had playing hockey was here in Kincardine," he said.

He detailed some of those good times and thanked Doug and Cathy, as well as Paul Catto and Brent Armstrong, who coached the 'Dogs during his stint in Kincardine. He joined the Bulldogs after two seasons in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League with Listowel and Strathroy and stayed with Catto and his family when he was in Kincardine.

He was a hit with this year's players as well, and spent a good chunk of time talking to the teenagers and posing for photographs. As mentioned, Keeso was the only addition to the Wall of Fame this season. There was no one big winner as far as team awards either, with the hardware being sprinkled about among the team.

Robert White was the only player to take home multiple awards. White was named the team's most valuable player in the regular season, the team's top defenceman and also won the Ironman Award for appearing in all 36 regular season games and every playoff contest.

Georgetown's Jesse Gun was Kincardine's leading scorer with 14 goals and 18 assists in 31 PJHL games this season. Tyler Fregona of Mississauga led the Bulldogs in playoff scoring and was named the team's most valuable player in the post season.

Southampton's Mike Fieghen finished second in team scoring and won the team's rookie of the year honours. He had 27 points in his first PJHL season.

Brady Richards of Chesley was named the team's top defensive player and Owen Sound native Logan Swanton was named most improved player.

Kincardine native Brett Burrows took home the trophy for the hardest working player, and Grant Stevens shared the coach's award with Tara native Keegan Angel. Two KMHA graduates, Derrick Bernath and Mike Osadca, shared the most sportsmanlike player award and goaltender Malcolm Young followed in Keeso's footsteps by winning the team's most colourful player award.

Bernath, White, Burrows and Hunter Robin-Gibbons also won Ironman awards for appearing in every game this season.

The Bulldogs finished fourth overall in the Pollock Division of the PJHL last season with a 16-17-3 record under rookie head coach Shawn Burrows. Kincardine was eliminated in the opening round of the Pollock Division playoffs in six games by the Hanover Barons.