Dan Pettypiece

Trio of Lady Gens play in WECSSAA all-star game

Special to the RTT

The General Amherst girls hockey team was represented by three players at the recent WECSSAA            All Star Game in LaSalle.

Carly Renaud, Emily Pontini and Jaycie Stanek were chosen to play in the annual event.  Unfortunately Emily was not able to play in the game due to a prior school commitment.  Carly and Jaycie played in the game which featured the cream of the crop of the best hockey players in the league.

Jaycie Stanek (left), Emily Pontini (centre) and Carly Renaud (right) represented General Amherst in the WECSSAA girls all-star game. (Submitted photo)

In a very exciting game the Blue team scored with 25 seconds left in the game to defeat the Red team 6-5.  Although Carly and Jaycie’s Red team was defeated it was still a great experience for both of them.  Andromeda Dean the coach and league convenor from Sandwich did an outstanding job organizing the event.

—Submitted by General Amherst head coach Dan Pettypiece

General Amherst girls compete in junior hockey tournament


The General Amherst girls played in a junior hockey tournament for Grade 9’s and 10’s, organized by the Belle River Nobles in Lakeshore April 11-12.

Originally 12 players signed up to participate but due to injuries and illness we were only able to ice nine skaters and a goalie.  But true to Amherst spirit and determination, they battled on to the end.  Graduating seniors Carly Renaud and Emily Pontini coached the team as way of giving back to the program.  Their strong dedication to the program was evident as they organized and ran practices leading up to the tournament.  They dealt with a very short bench and kept the girls focused on playing hard till the final buzzer sounded.

On Wednesday, Amherst played their first game against Kingsville. They played a solid game and were able to defeat Kingsville 2-0.  Abby Bondy scored both goals for Amherst.  Jaiden Stiles played a great game in goal posting the shutout.  The Amherst defence corps of Abby Laframboise, Cassidy Zelle, Renae Hammond and newcomer Mia McGrath played a solid game in front of their goalie.  Taylor Dufour also made her return to hockey after taking a year off and played hard throughout the tournament.  Halle Higgins came out of her comfort zone and made her debut playing her first ever hockey game.

Carly Renaud and Emily Pontini give the General Amherst team encouragement during a junior hockey tournament game for high school girls. (Submitted photo)

Later that day we played our second game versus a strong Sandwich team.  Sandwich was able to come away with a hard fought 2-0 victory. Once again Jaiden Stiles played a solid game in goal for Amherst but we were not able to capitalize on our chances against a strong Sandwich team which was allowed to use their grade 11 goalie for the tourney. (They did not have a Grade 9 or 10 goalie)

On Thursday, Amherst played their third game of the tourney against another strong team from L’Essor.  Once again in spite of having a short bench Amherst played a spirited game but came away with a 3-1 loss.  Scoring for Amherst was Abbie Drouillard assisted by Cassidy Zelle. Jaiden Stiles played her usual solid game in goal.

Although we did not advance to the semifinals this tournament the coaching staff was very pleased with their effort and how they showed great potential for the future. With 10 players returning next year as well as a strong group of players coming in from Grade 8, we look forward to next year and can’t wait to get started.

The players and coaches would like to thank Carly and Emily for their time and commitment in coaching this team.  Their leadership and enthusiasm will be missed and we wish them great success in the future.  We would also like to thank the parents for their support throughout the season and a special thank you to John Holzel for his time and expertise in taking our team photo.  Have a great summer if it ever comes and see you in November.


-Submitted by General Amherst head coach Dan Pettypiece

(attached photo shows Carly Renaud & Emily Pontini giving the team encouragement)

Weekly girls hockey clinic has new name, new location


A girls hockey clinic is returning for a third season this summer.

The clinic which has operated out of the Libro Centre the last two years has moved to the Vollmer Centre in LaSalle due to the fact there will no longer be summer ice in Amherstburg for the first time in over 40 years.

The clinic has a new name this year. It’s called “Back to Basics Girls Hockey Clinic.” The director of the program with over 20 years of coaching and operating hockey schools is Bill Atkinson. The co-director is Dan Pettypiece with over 40 years of coaching and hockey school experience. Bill worked for Dan for approximately 15 years back in the old Tri-Com Hockey School days and after years away from the business he decided to jump back in.

One of the motivating factors for him was the fact that he has three girls in hockey and he enjoys being a part of their hockey experience. He also recognized the need for all female hockey programs in the area. Bill is very passionate about teaching the skills especially skating. He has always enjoyed teaching skill development and these clinics provide an environment for that to happen. Skill development is something coaches don’t usually have enough time to do during the season.

Dan Pettypiece and Bill Atkinson will be running the Back to Basics Girls Hockey Clinic this summer, but it will be at the Vollmer Centre in LaSalle due to no summer ice at the Libro Centre.

Bill and Dan have always been on the same page in regards to teaching skating and hockey skills.

One of our main philosophies in teaching skating and hockey skills is emphasizing proper techniques, with drill progression and correcting bad habits,” they state. “Too many programs just seem to run drills and have lots of gadgets on the ice but there is not a lot of teaching and correcting going on. This prohibits skill development and as the players move up in the older divisions they become frustrated and some end up walking away from the game. Our goal is to slow the players down, break down the skills into smaller parts and try to get them to perform drills correctly with proper technique. If a program doesn’t have that philosophy it can have less of an impact on a player’s improvement.”

The clinic will again feature two age groups – 5-10-year-olds and 11-15-year-olds. New for this year we will introduce a beginners program for newer players ( –14) that have just started playing this year or are starting this coming season. It will feature six one-hour sessions.

Back to Basics Female Hockey Clinic will take place in August. The six 90 minute sessions will take place on Tuesdays Aug. 7, 14, 21 and 28 and Thursdays Aug. 23 and 30. The beginner program will be at 5 p.m. on the same dates, the 5 -10 year old group will be at 6 p.m. and the 11–15-year-old group will be at 7:30 p.m.

The program will focus on power skating but they will also work on hockey skills. The program also offers specialized goaltending instruction (with their own instructor). The program fee is $120 for the beginners program and $175 for the hockey clinic.

Bill believes that making the girl’s programs affordable and giving them the chance to compete against other girls helps make the program a success. It’s important to have all girls programs because many girls do not feel comfortable playing hockey and training with the boys programs. The first year the program had one group with 36 players, the second year had two groups with over 60 players.

We were sold out each year,” he said.

For Bill and Dan it’s the perfect way to cap off the summer working with the girls and getting them ready for the coming hockey season. Also serving as instructors at the clinic this year will Carson Clark-Bartolo, Allison Langille, Chad Mayrand and goaltending instructors Jason Dion and Adam Frye. Additional instructors will be added later.

If you wish to have more information or to register, e-mail us at backtobasicshockeyclinic@gmail.com or see our Facebook page Back to Basics Hockey Clinic @backtobasicshockeyclinic.

Lady Gens hockey season concludes


Special to the RTT

The General Amherst Lady Gens played the first place Sandwich Sabres in the WECSSAA quarterfinals Feb. 12.

This was a one-game knockout to see who would advance to the semi-finals.  The coaches knew going into the game that they were going to be tough to beat but the girls were up to the task and did not quit. They played a tight defensive zone defence and frustrated the powerful Sandwich team in the first period.

General Amherst scored the game’s first goal (Abbie Drouillard assisted by Jaycie Stanek) and continued to frustrate Sandwich with outstanding goaltending by Jaiden Stiles.

Sandwich eventually tied the game in the second period and we went into the intermission between the second and third period with the belief we could still pull out a shocking victory.

Unfortunately, Sandwich scored early in the third period to go up 2-1.  The Amherst girls did not quit and continued to press for the equalizer. With just over a minute to go, the Lady Gens pulled Jaiden for an extra attacker and we continued to pressure Sandwich.

As the final buzzer sounded, there would be no happy ending this time.  Although the girls were disappointed that it ended this way, they were very proud with their effort and refusal to quit.

The coaching staff from the other team and even the referees commended our team for their play against a very strong Sandwich team.

In the dressing room after the game, the Amherst coaching staff found it hard to properly express how proud they were of this group of ladies.  Amherst’s very young team was able to push Sandwich to the limit and gave them a scare (Sandwich went on to win the WECSSAA championship).

The coaches did not feel like this was a loss for this program. Sometimes in hockey and life, failures like this lead to future success. This hopefully will give next year’s team some extra confidence going into the season.  Head coach Dan Pettypiece said he really enjoyed coaching this group of girls this year and although there were ups and downs, he thinks they have a bright future ahead of them.

On that note we are sad to say goodbye to Grade 12’s Carly Renaud, Emily Pontini, Alex Laframboise and Briana Farias. Pettypiece said he would especially like to thank Carly and Emily for their leadership with this young group of girls.

“I’ve had the pleasure to witness both of them grow up in the game of hockey and I know they will have lots to look forward to as they move to the next phase of. their lives,” said Pettypiece.  “Looking ahead to next year we will have most of the girls returning and we are looking forward to a strong new group of rookies coming in from Grade 8.  The future looks very bright for this team.”

The Grade 9’sand 10’s will compete in the Belle River Junior tournament on April 11-12 with the coaching help from the seniors.

“In closing I wish to thank our timekeeper Janice Ferguson, who has volunteered with us for 11 years, our sponsor Drew Coulson of Coulson Design-Build, assistant coach Jason Laframboise for his dedication to the program, our teacher reps  Kary Coulson and Nicole Rusenstrom for their commitment to this team, to Ron Giofu for his great coverage of this team and finally to the parents and grandparents who come out to cheer on the girls.  Your support of this program is very much appreciated,” said Pettypiece.


Lady Gens show improvement on the ice


The General Amherst Lady Gens have been progressing despite what their record indicates.

This very young team had a tough couple of weeks with a 1-3 record. That being said our last two games have been our best efforts of the year so far.  On Jan. 10, we lost to Kingsville 5-2.

Scoring for Amherst was Jaycie Stanek and Abby Bondy.  We just never got started properly and fell behind early.  Kingsville came to play and capitalized on our simple mistakes in our own end.  The coaching staff emphasized after the game to try to play a much simpler game. We have been caught with players trying to do too much and over thinking the game.

On Jan. 15, we played Cardinal Carter and had one of our weakest efforts of the year losing 7-1. Scoring for Amherst was Sydney Doyle assisted be Jaycie Stanek. It was one of those games that every team has at least once during the season. Sometimes it is best just to forget about them and move on to your next game with an improved effort and that’s what we did.

Cardinal Carter’s Chloe Mastronardi chases Abbie Drouillard of the General Amherst Lady Gens as she takes control of the puck to the left of the net during a WECSSAA Tier II girls hockey game at Unico Arena Jan. 15. Cardinal Carter won 7-1. (Photo by Bryan Jessop/Southpoint Sun)

On Jan. 16, we played Essex and although I think we outplayed them we lost 2-0. We definitely out-chanced them the whole game but had no puck luck around their net.

Overall it was one of our best games of the year.  On Jan. 22, we played St. Joseph’s and had our best game of the year.  The girls played a very smart, simple and aggressive game from the opening faceoff to the final buzzer. St. Joe’s had only lost twice all year and I think we outplayed them throughout the game.  They kept things simple and did not collapse after St. Joe’s tied the game in the second period.

One of the things that we have tried to emphasize throughout the season is that we have a young team and that we need to be patient with them.  They are going to make mistakes but that’s how they will learn to be better.  Failure lives in the house right next door to success and it’s the lessons we learn from failure that eventually breeds success.

Scoring for Amherst in this game were: Abby Bondy unassisted, Emily Pontini with the winner assisted by Jaycie Stanek and Abby Laframboise and Jaycie Stanek from Phoebe Trealout (her first high school point) and Cassidy Zelle.  Jaiden Stiles was very solid in goal and our defense did a fantastic job at both ends of the ice.

We would like to welcome Jaiden back from her injury and after missing three games. She has picked up where she left off giving us very steady goaltending.  We would also like to thank Autumn Guthrie for playing goal for us in Jaiden’s absence.  She worked very hard trying to learn an extremely tough position in a short amount of time with the help of goalie coach Terry Bondy. Great effort Autumn.  We now break for exams and play our final league game on Mon. Feb. 5th against Tecumseh Vista.

—Submitted by General Amherst head coach Dan Pettypiece