Groups interested in operating pro shop at Libro Centre

By Ron Giofu


While the Canadian Tire Pro Shop will cease to operate in the Libro Centre, other groups are interested in continuing to offer such a service.

The current pro shop will close March 28 and there are rumoured uses for the space, including offices for town employees. Members of the Amherstburg Admirals ownership group contacted the River Town Times stating they are one of the groups interested.

Gaspare Spada, who owns the team with Matt Fox and Wes Ewer, confirmed they sent in a proposal to the town.

“We already have relationships with these groups and would provide them with required services they need,” said Spada. “The transition would be a smooth one.”

Spada said they are confident in their abilities to run a business, noting their rent is paid on time.

“We operate the Admirals here and are in good standing with the town,” said Spada. “We are in the process of renewing the lease for the Admirals and we could include this venture in that term.”

As for discussion of turning the pro shop into offices, Spada said “I’m not aware of that but owning some properties myself, it makes no sense to give up rental dollars for offices. We’ve had meetings in regards to raising user fees for ice rental to create additional income for the town and it would make no sense to take a step backwards and lose rental income. There are some smart people employed by the town and on council. I can’t see this happening.”

Even if it did, Spada said the Admirals remain interested in operating a pro shop at the arena.

“After some discussions among our group, if the town chooses to use that space for their own use, we would consider relocating the pro shop to a different area of the arena if they would allow,” he said.

Efforts were made to contact another of the groups known to be interested in renting the space but those attempts were unsuccessful. There are reports that other parties are interested as well but their identities are unknown as of press time.

Children and parents “go batty” at AMA Sportsmen Association



By Ron Giofu


Children, parents and grandparents went a little “batty” at the AMA Sportsmen Association last Saturday morning.

The club had about 50 bat boxes constructed with children and their parents and grandparents coming out to help build them. It was similar to last month’s event where 40 wood duck boxes were built.

Brian Beattie, AMA Sportsmen Association member and member of the club’s conservation committee, said the original plan called for 40 bat boxes to be constructed but the addition of about 10 Cubs and Scouts from 2nd Amherstburg Scouting saw the number increased by ten.

Local youth took part in the AMA Sportsmen Association’s bat box building day last Saturday morning.
A total of 50 bat boxes were constructed.

“That completes our conservation projects for the year,” said Beattie, noting nearly $2,000 was spent for the wood duck box and bat box projects.

The bat boxes are smaller than wood duck boxes, require little maintenance and can be installed in residential areas as long as they are at least ten-feet off the ground, Beattie stated. He added the plans currently are for more bat boxes to be built next year and to reduce the number of wood duck boxes to 30.

“I’d like to do 30 of these (bat boxes) and 30 more for screech owls,” he said.

Beattie said it was nice to welcome 2nd Amherstburg Scouting as well. He said he had to buy extra wood for the extra boxes, but the club was pleased to partner with another group.

Cameryn Carmack, Zach Kollin and Cassidy Carmack work on a bat box last Saturday morning.

There are a lot of misconceptions about bats, Beattie stated, pointing out there are six species of bats in Essex County. The most common species is the big brown bat and the loss of trees means a loss of habitat for them. One big brown bat can eat as many as 3,000 to 7,000 mosquitoes per night, he said.

Some bats also use the bat boxes to hibernate in winter and it is advised the boxes be placed in the sun, so bats can feel the warmth.

Hailey Laliberte drills a screw into her bat box. A total of 50 bat boxes were constructed.

Lisa Tomac, scouter with 2nd Amherstburg Scouting, said reading a previous article in the River Town Times allowed them to know the event was happening and they decided to get involved.

“Who doesn’t like to use a drill?” she joked.

It was an optional event for the Cubs and Scouts, she added, with those who did turn out being able to pick up a new skill. Tomac added they wear their uniforms to such outings to show that 2nd Amherstburg Scouting is active in the community.


Amherstburg Oldtimers tournament draws team from this area and Michigan



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Oldtimers Hockey Tournament returned again this year with over two dozen teams hitting the ice.

The tournament ran last Friday through Sunday at the Libro Centre with 26 teams participating on both ice pads over the three days. That number was down slightly from last year, when 28 teams participated, but tournament manager Jim Rousseau indicated that was due to some of the players being banged up.

“I’ve got five teams from Michigan and the rest are from Essex County and Windsor,” said Rousseau. “There are seven teams from Amherstburg alone.”

The Amherstburg Oldtimers Hockey Tournament was held last Friday through Sunday at the Libro Centre with action on both pads. A total of 26 teams came out for this year’s tournament. with teams coming from around Windsor-Essex County and Michigan.

Rousseau said three of the Amherstburg teams were in the open division with four coming from the Tri-Community Men’s Hockey League that play Sunday mornings. There were six divisions and various age groups with most divisions having four teams with the other having six.

The Amherstburg Oldtimers Hockey Tournament has been running for nearly four decades and continues to thrive because people locally want it to succeed.

“It’s the commitment,” said Rousseau. “It’s a tradition. We don’t let it die.”

The tournament also benefits the community. The Amherstburg Oldtimers purchase whatever they need locally and also make donations to Canadian Tire Jumpstart and the Miracle League of Amherstburg.

The Amherstburg Oldtimers Hockey Tournament was held last Friday through Sunday at the Libro Centre with action on both pads. A total of 26 teams came out for this year’s tournament. with teams coming from around Windsor-Essex County and Michigan.

“I took the approach that we are from the town and we should support the town,” said Rousseau.

The Amherstburg Oldtimers, who scrimmage Thursday nights at the Libro Centre, also travel to tournaments throughout the hockey season. They won a recent tournament in Tillsonburg and will be travelling to St. Catharines in a few weeks.

Stars’ juvenile team two points away from OMHA final berth


The Amherstburg Juvenile Stars travelled up the 401 this past weekend to kick off their OMHA Semi-Final series against the Woolwich Wildcats.  The Stars came out flying in game one of the series Saturday afternoon winning the opener 4-1.  Stars goals were scored by Jack Hubbell, Brandon Farhringer, Ernie Godden Jr. and Joe Goulawski.

The game was a busy one for Stars trainer Chad Mailloux with lots of bumps and bruises along the way.  The stars left no doubt in the game and Chris Mitre followed suit in net closing the door to the Wildcat offense.

Head coach Dennis Emerson was pleased with the opener.

“I thought overall we had a solid start to the series and getting two points in game one on the road was huge for us. It should take away some of the pressure on the team going into game two tomorrow,” added Emerson.

The Stars were back underway Sunday afternoon, in what shaped up to be the better of the two performances for the weekend.   Chris Mitre got the start in net again and Emerson said it wasn’t an easy decision.

“We decided to go back with Chris in Game 2 and he certainly helped close the door and allow the team a great chance to win,” Emerson said.

Jack Hubbell opened up the scoring for the stars and that, and a Wildcat goal  is all there would be in regulation.  Tied and in overtime, Brandon Farhringer sent the Stars back home up four points to zero in their OMHA Semi Final match with a 2-1 OT victory.  This same Woolwich team has won back to back OMHA Finals the past two seasons and are heading to Amherstburg next weekend with their backs against the wall.

“Coming home with four points and having three home games in a row, I like the position our team put themselves in,” said Emerson.  “We have really been playing well since the Christmas break.  I really like the players we have and the way they are working together,” he added.

Emerson noted that the team saw a few players driving home between games to write university exams and is really happy with the commitment level he is seeing.

The Stars will host the Wildcats Friday night at 9:10 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.  (the latter two games only if needed). All games  will be played at the Libro Centre.

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.