Border Minor Hockey Caps Season
Theborder area’s boys and girls gathered Saturday at Stanstead College for the local minor hockey association’s annual trophy presentations, with the Novice B Blazers getting the unofficial nod as team of the year after recently reaching the Estrie regional championships. A classic hockey lesson was learned as the Blazers, with a 2-10-1 regular season record, upset three teams in the playoffs, including the (11-0-2) first place finishers in the quarter-finals. Following that 6-5 shootout victory, were a 6-5 overtime win and then a 2-1 loss in the finals. Representing the Orford-St. Francois league at the regionals in Warwick, the seven and eight year old heros were victorious in their first outing before losing a heartbreaking 2-1 shootout in the quarterfinals.
Some 110 youngsters from Quebec and Vermont represented the border on ten teams this past season, with another two dozen joining with Coaticook association players to form double letter (CC) teams at the Atom, Peewee, Bantam and Midget levels. All look forward to playing next season in Stanstead’s new Pat Burns Arena.
“It was a successful season all the way around. Our program seems to be growing and we’re sending more teams to the double letter programs,” commented Mike Paul, the president of Border Minor Hockey Association for the last two years.
Mr. Paul, who is stepping down after spending six years on the Association’s Board of Directors, was grateful to the parents and the players: “The players and the parents have to be dedicated. Hats off for the money and time that they have to spend; hockey is more expensive than other sports.”
The outgoing president also explained why the hockey club’s two fundraisers, the Casino night and the golf tournament, were so important. “The cost of the rink is high here compared to rinks that are owned by the towns, like Coaticook or Magog. It costs us $125 an hour to rent the rink at Stanstead compared to $60 an hour in Coaticook. We’ve been told that the price won’t go up next year at the new arena. We were kind of hoping that, with the town being involved in the new arena, the price might come down!”
Border Novice B Blazers pose proudly Saturday at the Border Minor Hockey Association’s awards ceremonies with the finalists’ banner they captured against all odds with an impressive playoff performance. Pictured with coaches Marc Lanoue and Walter Pykora are, (front row), Noah Cheney, Daniel Lanoue, Bryce Champney, Thierry Bernier, Mathis Robert and (back row) Adam Sykes, Julia Ballinger, Nicolas Pokora, Dawson Coates and Korey Goudreau. Absent was Julien Audet.