Big moments in 2017
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.
The Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises CeeBee Stars had an up-and-down 2017.
Daniel Cleary officially completed his career as a hockey player in 2017 on a Grand Rapids Griffins squad that claimed the AHL championship.
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.
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.