Dan Pettypiece

Sold out hockey school focuses strictly on girls



By Ron Giofu


An all-girls hockey camp started last Wednesday night with the ice at the Libro Centre filled with players ages 6-15.

The camp is in its second year and is being directed by Bill Atkinson and Dan Pettypiece. Atkinson said it allows players to “go back to basics” and learn the finer points of the game. The clinic started last year with 36 kids and is sold out this year with over 60 players enrolled.

“It’s the kinds of things coaches can’t do in the middle of the season because they don’t have enough ice time,” said Atkinson.

There are not a lot of all-girls camps, Atkinson believes, and they try to make the clinic at the Libro Centre affordable for everyone. He said a lot of girls don’t feel comfortable on the ice with boys and they are more enthusiastic when they get to compete against other girls.

Girls from around the area have been taking the ice at the Libro Centre for a hockey school.

Girls from around the area have been taking the ice at the Libro Centre for a hockey school.

Atkinson said the all-girls approach works for his three daughters and believes it works better for other girls, as they are not as intimidated on the ice and more motivated.

“I wouldn’t be able to get any of them to go to a mostly boys camp,” said Atkinson.

While basic skating and puck handing skills are taught, Atkinson added they aren’t necessarily trying to create superstars.

“We’re going to teach you how to play hockey so you can enjoy the game,” he said.

Atkinson said there are other coaches as well, including a goalie coach and three girls getting an initial exposure to coaching. He said it is great not only helping players develop, but allowing others to give back through coaching.

The bulk of the players are from Amherstburg, he added, though there are players from LaSalle and Harrow in the camp as well as some others from around the area.

The school has two sessions each Wednesday night through Aug. 23 and also runs Aug. 29.

Weekly girls hockey clinic to run Wednesdays starting July 26


By Ron Giofu

A girls hockey summer training program is returning to the Libro Centre.

Bill Atkinson is the director of the female power skating and hockey clinic and Dan Pettypiece is the co-director. It starts July 26 and runs for six weeks for ages 6-15.

“We actually started the program last summer recognizing there was a need for strictly girls hockey programs in the area,” said Pettypiece. “We had one group last year ranging in age 5 to 15 which presented some challenges with the different skill levels all being on the ice at once.”

Pettypiece noted the program was sold out and it had a waiting list.

“This year we decided to offer two age groups (6-10 and 11-15). Bill worked approximately15 years for me back in the old Tri-Com Hockey School days and after several years away from the business he decided to jump back in. One of the motivating factors for him was the fact that he now has three girls playing hockey and he enjoys being a part of their hockey experience. He is very passionate about teaching the skills especially skating.”

Pettypiece said they have always been on the same page in that regards. He stated Atkinson has been coaching and teaching the game for over 20 years. As for Pettypiece, he said he has never ever been able to leave the game that has meant so much to him.

“I have been coaching and running hockey programs for 40 years now and I still have the same passion as when I started,” said Pettypiece.

The weekly sessions will include a focus on power skating but they will also work on hockey skills each 90-minute session.

Some of the other instructors will be Taylor Conte from the University of Windsor Lancers, Carson Clarke Bartolo and Allison Langille from the Windsor Wildcat midget travel team. It will also feature goalie instructor Jason Dion. The fee is $140.

“One of our main philosophies in teaching skating and hockey skills is emphasizing proper techniques, with drill progression and correcting bad habits,” said Pettypiece. “Too many programs seem to just run drills and have lots of gadgets on the ice but there is not a lot of teaching and correcting which prohibits skill development. We try to slow them down and break the skills down into smaller parts. Otherwise you are not doing your job which is to improve their skill level.”

There are 40 girls registered and they have up to 20 spots available. Contact Bill Atkinson at wma@hotplumbing.com to register.

“We are looking forward to getting back on the ice and working with the girls,” said Pettypiece.

The clinics run each Wednesday from 6-7:20 p.m. and 7:30-8:50 p.m.

Lady Gens hockey season comes to an end



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens hockey season has come to an end.

The Lady Gens were defeated in two straight games by L’Essor with the second game being in Tecumseh last Wednesday. General Amherst lost 3-2 in the second game, with L’Essor winning the WECSSAA AA championship as a result.

Assistant coach Dan Pettypiece said L’Essor built a 3-0 lead though noted the Lady Gens were almost able to tie the score. General Amherst scored with six minutes left and again a few minutes later but were unable to find the elusive tying goal.

“We almost tied it up. We had some chances,” said Pettypiece.


With goalie Megan Wismer on the bench late in the game for an extra attacker, Pettypiece said he counted at least two or three good chances.

When the score was 1-0, Pettypiece said they almost tied it at that point but captain Emily Hamelin was turned aside by a great save by the L’Essor goalie. Hamelin did score later in the game, as did Jaycie Stanek.

“With only 11 skaters and you shorten your bench, if your better players are not getting any luck or bounces, it can be tough to come back,” said Pettypiece.

It was emotional after the game, as this was the final high school game for five key players including Savannah Bouzide, Wismer, Katie Stevenson, Brianne Fields and Emily Hamelin. Pettypiece added that head coach Scott Hamelin also announced he wasn’t going to come back next year.

“That’s a big five,” said Pettypiece. “That’s the core of the team the last four years.”

The Lady Gens have been to the WECSSAA AA finals the last four years in large part due to the efforts of those players.

“That’s pretty tough to do,” he said. “They’ve got a lot to be proud of.”

General Amherst does return some talented players as well and they will try and keep the finals streak going. Pettypiece said the last four years have shown girls can come to General Amherst and play competitive hockey and there are more good players coming through the hockey system.

The last four years “kind of brought the program to the forefront,” said Pettypiece.

Lady Gens start WECSSAA finals with a loss



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens didn’t start the WECSSAA AA girls hockey final the way they wanted but will look to regroup this week.

The Lady Gens hosted L’Essor Monday afternoon at the Libro Centre in Game 1 of the finals but lost 3-1. Cate Hubbell’s goal with just 33.2 seconds left in the third period was the lone goal for Amherst.

“They seemed to be fighting the puck today,” said assistant coach Dan Pettypiece. “We didn’t get any flow going.”

The players have to understand they will no longer have the time and space they had earlier in the season against weaker teams and have to bear down and make good plays with the puck. They can’t get down on themselves and have to take the extra half-second to make the play instead of rushing with the puck.

The Lady Gens hadn’t allowed a goal in the playoffs until Monday and Pettypiece said they can’t just expect goalie Megan Wismer to carry them every night. Other players have to step up as well.

General Amherst's Katie Stevenson (15, yellow jersey) pulls away from Leamington defenders during semi-final action last Wednesday afternoon at the Libro Centre.

General Amherst’s Katie Stevenson (15, yellow jersey) pulls away from Leamington defenders during semi-final action last Wednesday afternoon at the Libro Centre.

General Amherst made it to the finals thanks to a two-game sweep in the WECSSAA semi-finals. The Lady Gens polished off the Leamington Lions in the semi-finals last Wednesday at the Libro Centre after winning Game 1 in Leamington a week earlier.

Much like they did the previous week in Leamington, the Lady Gens got a goal from Savannah Bouzide and a shutout from goalie Megan Wismer and won a 1-0 decision. Bouzide’s goal in the second game of the best-of-three series came late in the second period.

“It feels awesome,” said captain Emily Hamelin after beating Leamington. “They were really close games.”

Emily said they went the extra mile and drove to the net but said they need to get more shots and work harder at getting the puck out of their own end in an effort to generate more offense.

The Lady Gens were thrilled about getting back to the WECSSAA final for the fourth straight year.

“No one really thought we could get here,” said Emily.

Amherst head coach Scott Hamelin said the girls earned the trip to the finals. He said they played their best hockey of the second game against the Lions in the third period.

The entire team, from the Grade 9 players to the Grade 12 players, all pulled together, Scott added.

“They all did their part and they all competed well,” he said.

Wismer played well and that helped them overcome a very good Leamington team, Scott stated. He said the team showed a lot of character and it paid off.

They need to stop panicking with the puck and be less nervous with it, he added, and that will help them get the puck out of their zone and create offense. Simplifying and taking care of their own end will translate into good things, he said.

Winning games like the two against Leamington will help in the long run, Scott said after last Wednesday’s game, as it gives the players more experience on what to do in pressure situations.

“This team always finds a way to win,” he said after the Leamington series.

Game 2 against L’Essor will be in Tecumseh today and Game 3, if necessary, will be at the Libro Centre Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

Lady Gens win last two regular season games, first playoff game



Special to the RTT


The General Amherst Lady Gens finished the regular season game strong and opened the WECSSAA playoffs on the right note.

The Lady Gens travelled to South Windsor Arena last Wednesday to play the Massey Mustangs. Playing with only ten skaters, assistant coach Dan Pettypiece said they played a solid game against a young Massey team, winning 6–0.

Scoring for Amherst were Jaycie Stanek with three, Taylor Dufour with her first high school goal, Cassidy Zelle with her first high school goal and Cate Hubbell. Megan Wismer shut down Massey for the shutout.

The Lady Gens played a rescheduled game versus Tecumseh Vista Academy in Amherstburg last Thursday. The game was supposed to have been played Jan. 23 but was postponed.

“Once again, we played with a short bench as we only had ten skaters. A fast skating Tecumseh played a very tough game against us but we were able to squeak out a 1- 0 win and finish the regular season with eight wins, zero losses and two ties,” said Pettypiece.

Scoring the goal for Amherst on a breakaway was Jaycie Stanek. Stanek had suffered a leg injury with her travel team the previous weekend but showed no signs of slowing down with a four-goal week. Megan Wismer played her usual strong game getting getting the shutout.


General Amherst started the playoffs Monday afternoon versus the Sandwich Sabres in a quarterfinal one-game elimination game at the Libro Centre.

“The team started slow but eventually scored two goals in the second to lead 2-0 after two periods,” reported Pettypiece.

Scoring second period goals were Stanek and Savannah Bouzide.

In the third period Carly Renaud scored two goals one into an empty net to seal the victory. Getting assists in the game were Katie Stevenson, Bouzide, Hubbell and Renaud.

“It was nice to see Carly rewarded with a couple goals and three points today,” said Pettypiece. “She is consistently one of our hardest workers and has had some tough luck around the net lately.”

Wismer had another strong game between the pipes getting her third straight shutout.

Pettypiece said Monday night that the Lady Gens will tentatively start their semi-final series against the Leamington Lions this Thursday in Leamington. The second game would be back in Amherstburg Feb. 22 at 3 p.m.