Big mo­ments in 2017

The Compass - - Front Page -

Take a look through our sports sec­tion to read about the CeeBees’ oust from the Avalon East Se­nior Hockey League, to lo­cal young ath­letes tak­ing big steps.

There are plenty of great ath­letes young and old in the Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion-Pla­cen­tia area, and we’ve shared many of their sto­ries this past year within the Com­pass’ pages.

From the high-and-lows of the CeeBee Stars’ year in se­nior hockey to the ex­ploits of two ath­letes com­pet­ing over­seas in an in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion, this re­gion pro­duced com­pelling

drama on and off the play­ing fields.

To cap off the year in sports for 2017, the Com­pass has com­piled a sum­mary of what we’ve deemed to be the five big­gest sports sto­ries of 2017.

1. CeeBees win Herder, left out of se­nior hockey: The Har­bour Grace Ocean En­ter­prises CeeBees Stars proved the Avalon East Se­nior Hockey League could pro­duce a team com­pet­i­tive enough to face off against the best the Cen­tral-West league had to offer. The team claimed the Herder Me­mo­rial Tro­phy in thrilling, yet con­tro­ver­sial fash­ion, thanks in part to a goal that went un­der the back of the net. A few months later, the CeeBees found them­selves with­out a league to play in, with the four other Avalon East team leav­ing to form a new league. Hockey NL sub­se­quently re­jected an at­tempt by the CeeBees and oth­ers to re­boot the AESHL as a se­nior A league with two new teams.

2. C.B.N. Spe­cial Olympians medal in Aus­tria: Snow­shoers San­dra Smith of Car­bon­ear and Crys­tal Young of Har­bour Grace had an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at the Spe­cial Olympic World Win­ter Games in Aus­tria rep­re­sent­ing Canada. Smith won a pair of gold medals and one sil­ver at the games, while Young col­lected two gold medals. The Tri-Con Gen­tle Giants Spe­cial Olympic Club team­mates re­ceived a warm wel­come upon re­turn­ing to the Con­cep­tion Bay North area. The home mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of Smith and Young even­tu­ally rec­og­nized each of them by nam­ing road­ways in their hon­our.

3. Danny Cleary re­tires from pro hockey: While he didn’t dress for any games in the 2016-17 sea­son, Har­bour Grace na­tive Daniel Cleary re­mained ac­tive as a player with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. Work­ing with play­ers be­hind the scenes, Cleary helped the team claim the league cham­pi­onship. After of­fi­cially re­tir­ing from hockey, the for­mer Stan­ley Cup cham­pion ac­cepted a po­si­tion with the Detroit Red Wings as a co-director of player de­vel­op­ment. He re­tired from hockey as the New­found­lan­der with the most NHL games ever played in both the reg­u­lar sea­son and play­offs.

4. Laval High claims four pro­vin­cial ti­tles: It was a big sports year for Pla­cen­tia’s Laval High. Mul­ti­ple teams rep­re­sent­ing the Grades 7-12 school claimed pro­vin­cial ban­ners. In March, the girls basketball squad claimed the 3A ti­tle in Deer Lake. The boys and girls ball hockey teams both claimed 3A pro­vin­cial ti­tles in the spring, with the boys do­ing so for the third straight year. Fi­nally, the girls soft­ball team was dom­i­nant on the field in Oc­to­ber, cruis­ing their way to a 4A ban­ner. Some of the school’s fe­male ath­letes were part of all three cham­pi­onship teams.

5. Daw­son Mercer selected in 1st round of Q-draft: Daw­son Mercer was ranked highly by scouts head­ing into the Que­bec Ma­jor Junior Hockey League’s en­try draft. There was ul­ti­mately no dis­ap­point­ment for the Bay Roberts na­tive on draft day, as the Drum­mondville Voltigeurs made Mercer a top-10 pick, eighth over­all. The 16-year-old had 16 points in 30 games as of Dec. 22. The Voltigeurs also drafted his cousin, Zachary Ben­nett of Bay Roberts, and the Hal­i­fax Moose­heads selected Kyle Pet­ten of Co­ley’s Point in the same draft. Both play­ers earned ros­ter spots in train­ing camp.

TELE­GRAM FILE PHOTO

The Har­bour Grace Ocean En­ter­prises CeeBee Stars had an up-and-down 2017.

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS PHOTO

Daniel Cleary of­fi­cially com­pleted his ca­reer as a hockey player in 2017 on a Grand Rapids Griffins squad that claimed the AHL cham­pi­onship.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Mem­bers of the Laval High School fe­male se­nior basketball team: (front, from left) Kaiden Whyte, Lau­ren Kelly, Macken­zie Leonard-Power, Brook­lyn McCarthy, Abby Gam­bin, as­sis­tant coach Ken­dra Whyte; (back) Robyn Cul­leton, Emily Fo­ley, Am­ber Bar­ron, Emily O’Keefe, Hil­lary Neville, Raven Ralph and coach Me­lanie Whyte.

VIN­CENT ETHIER/QMJHL PHOTO

Daw­son Mercer pulls a Drum­mondville Voltigeurs jersey over his shoul­ders after be­ing selected by the team in the first round of the Que­bec Ma­jor Junior Hockey League draft June 3 in Saint John, N.B.

Crys­tal Young, left, and San­dra Smith both medaled at the Spe­cial Olympic World Win­ter Games in Aus­tria.

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