WINCHESTER – It was a solemn start to a Central Canada Hockey League Tier 2 (CCHL2) hockey game between the host Winchester Hawks and the visiting Arnprior Packers.
Earlier on Friday (Oct. 27) it was learned that four members of the CCHL2 Renfrew Timberwolves had been involved in a horrific car crash near Burnstown on the Calabogie Road. One of the four 18-year-olds, Brandon Hanniman died at the scene. Subsequently, teammate Alex Paquette passed away in hospital on Monday (Oct. 30). The other two occupants of the car – Jake McGrimmon and Ben Scheuneman – remain in hospital in serious condition.
Prior to the start of Friday’s tilt between the Hawks and Packers, a minute of silence was observed in honour of a death of a fellow hockey player. Members of both teams formed a circle at centre ice and stood silent in remembrance.
Winchester head coach Bob Gould noted that all the CCHL2 teams in all weekend games held similar ceremonies, “which was nice to see from our league.”
“The accident also hit close to home for me as of course the company I work for is based out of Renfrew and my brother Kevin is the general manager for the Renfrew team as well,” explained the Hawks’ coach.
“It is all very sad and terrible news and I have no idea how a hockey team even moves forward from that, but no doubt that they will and try to do their best and we will also help,” added Gould.
A ceremonial face-off in recognition of the Hawks 50 years of community hockey featuring former Hawks coach “Big” Doug Casselman who led the team of back-to-back (1981-1982) Gill Cup victories and his son Barry, who suited up for the Hawks from 1977-80 and scored 91 goals and a total of 189 points, preceded the official face-off.
When play did get underway the Packers picked on the Hawks for four goals in the opening 20 minutes. The Arnprior barrage chased Winchester starter Conor Lahey (3 GA) and brought in Brent Pledge-Dickson (1 GA) who faced 18 shots and played 40 minutes of shutout hockey.
Kyle Kuehni (Griffith Patterson, Ian Ogden at 5:43) and Evan Landry (PPG, Dillon Clemen, Miguel pare at 12:58) put Winchester on the board in the final frame.
The shots on goal were even at 26.
“Not a good start for sure, but I was proud of the boys for not giving up after the first period and clawing their way back into the game once Pledge-Dickson went in and settle things down for us,” said the coach.
“The boys are definitely improving and we are doing everything that we can to keep this team together as they are working hard at it on and off the ice,” added Gould.
Last Tuesday (Oct. 24), the Hawks were in Williamstown where the hometown Char-Lan Rebels handed them a 7-4 setback.
Char-Lan led 3-1 after 20 minutes and 6-4 after two periods with Derek Lister cracking three of his team’s six markers.
Pare (Kristian Palmer (18:36) counted Winchester’s first-period goal.
Three quick second-period shots fired by Mitchell Robertson (PPG, Griffin Patterson at 5:09), Patterson (Palmer 5:32) and Joey Driscoll (Kieran Gaynor, Dakota Seaman at 7:34) got the Hawks back in the game.
Char-Lan was whistled for four minors and Winchester one minor infraction. The Rebels outshot the Hawks 30-27. Pledge-Dickson took the loss.
The Hawks (2-15-0-0) travel to Alexandria to meet the fifth-place (Martin Division) Alexandria Glens (7-7-1-1) on Friday (Nov. 3).
This week’s home game is set for Sunday (Nov. 5) evening at 7:15 pm. The number-two ranked (Richardson Division) Carleton Place Jr. Canadians (12-6-1-0) will provide the opposition.