Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association

AMHA hosts house league “Day of Champions”



By Ron Giofu


The season is wrapping up for players in the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association and it is time to celebrate.

The house league division held its annual “Day of Champions” Sunday at the Libro Centre with age groups from tyke to bantam playing for championships in AMHA’s house league division. After games, each division crowned award winners and saw players chosen to receive individual honours.

“It’s been a great season,” said AMHA president Marc Renaud.

The “Day of Champions” produced its moments as well.

“We’ve had a lot of exciting hockey since 9 a.m.,” Renaud stated. “It’s been some good hockey.”

There were about 540 players enrolled in the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association this season, Renaud added, with about 350 players being in the house league division.

“That’s about where we’ve been (in recent years),” Renaud said of the enrolment.

The AMHA’s “Day of Champions” for the travel division is April 10.

“It’s been a great year for us,” said Renaud.

Renaud said the organization expresses its thanks to all of the volunteers, coaches and sponsors. Registration for the 2018-19 hockey season is expected to begin April 1. For further information, visit

The bantam Unifor 200 team was one of the victorious teams at Sunday’s house league “Day of Champions.” Back row (from left): David Wharram (Trainer), Ewan Mitchell, Ryan Wharram, Nolan Crain, Evan Sesto, Brayden Greenhalf, Cody Drouillard, Jason Hodgson (Coach)
Front row: Matt Connel, Andrew DiGiovanni, Louis Casey, Nick Grimaldi, Trevor Hebert, Ben Hodgson.
Absent was Thomas Vanlaerhoven-Overton and head coach Jeremy Drouillard. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

The 2018 House league Day of Champs are:


Novice: Midway Appliances


Atom: Gabriel’s Deli


Pee Wee: Gibb Insurance


Bantam: Unifor 200



The Memorial Award winners are as follows:


Novice – The Jeremy Bailey Award for Outstanding effort throughout the playing season. – Ben Meloche


Atom – The Murry Dufour Award for Outstanding effort throughout the playing season. – Nick Favrin


Pee wee – The Robert St Pierre Award for Outstanding effort throughout the playing season. – Sam Lojewski


Bantam – The Danny Hallock Award for Outstanding effort throughout the playing season.- Brendan Argoselo


The AMHA’s Day of Champions saw action all day Sunday at the Libro Centre. Novice house league action is pictured.


The House league Coach of the Year is- Tony Loggie


The House league Trainer of the Year is Kevin Owen

Kids Curing Cancer Hockey Day raises over $4,820

By Ron Giofu


Kids With Cancer (KCC), a local group of youth supported by parents and family members, held their “hockey day” as another way to give back.

KCC held the event for the first time last year and brought it back in 2018 with all levels of hockey participating. The event was held in partnership with the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) and the Amherstburg Admirals.

Baillargeon, a Grade 8 student at Malden Central Public School, was one of the seven or so volunteers helping out.

“We have all the kids wearing arm bands,” she said.

The even raised $4,820.45 this year, $479 more than in 2017.

Kierstyn, Ty and Lauren Baillargeon stand with a display featuring Mason Macri and the Fight Like Mason Foundation.

The team that raises the most money wins a pack of tickets for an upcoming Windsor Spitfires game. Players with the most donations get put into a draw for a prize donated by Canadian Tire. People could also buy raffle tickets for an Spitfires’ jersey autographed by last year’s Memorial Cup winning team. There was also a goalie stick signed by Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro being raffled off.

Baillargeon said that Accurate Creations helped make the arm bands that the players wore and Western Secondary School helped with the sewing of the bands. She said they wouldn’t have been able to have them if not for the assistance of those two groups.

Baillargeon also recently hosted “Lauren Baillargeon and Friends” at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Amherstburg. It was a Sunday afternoon concert where they tried to raise funds as well.

With the support of her family, Baillargeon began Kids Curing Cancer nearly five years ago after the death of her grandfather Dan Gerard. Kids Curing Cancer has raised over $25,000 for a number of charities and causes since its creation, Baillargeon explained, including for Windsor Regional Hospital and Ronald McDonald House.

Lauren Baillargeon, founder of Kids Curing Cancer, ties an arm band during KCC’s “Hockey Day” held all day Sunday at the Libro Centre.

This year’s charity of choice is the Fight Like Mason Foundation, a charity created in memory of Mason Macri. Macri succumbed to cancer June 27, 2016 when he was only four-years-old and the Fight Like Mason Foundation was created shortly thereafter.

Baillargeon explained that her family, including siblings Kierstyn and Ty, have done various things over the years to raise money including hair cuts, family “boot camps,” shopping sprees, key chain sales, and CD sales as well as concerts.
The main pasta dinner fundraiser will be Feb. 17 at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. That event is sold out.

Baillargeon said the Fight Like Mason Foundation is focusing on personalizing IV poles and dressing them up with superhero themes to comfort children battling with cancer. There are also stuffed animals dressed as superheros going into ambulances, Baillargeon added.

Many people have helped make events like the hockey day a success, she continued.

“It’s not just us doing it,” said Baillargeon. “Everyone is making it happen.”

University of Windsor coach tries to help other hockey coaches



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) offered a chance for some of their coaches to get some coaching tips thanks to the University of Windsor’s head coach.

Lancer coach Kevin Hamlin spoke to a group of about 25 travel coaches from AMHA at the Libro Centre and tried to impart some of the wisdom he has accumulated from his days as a university and pro player as well as from his coaching career. Hamlin’s coaching stops have included the Windsor Spitfires, Cornell University, Belle River Canadiens, Leamington Flyers, Sarnia Bees and St. Clair College as well as the Lancers.

“His credentials speak for themselves,” said AMHA travel vice president Greg Crain. “You are not going to get a better leader with more knowledge.”

Hamlin said coming out and talking with other coaches was something he enjoyed.

University of Windsor men’s hockey coach Kevin Hamlin addresses AMHA coaches during a recent talk at the Libro Centre.

“There are few places I’d rather be than be in a room with a bunch of coaches,” said Hamlin.

Hamlin encouraged the AMHA travel coaches to find something in his presentation they liked “and make it your own.

“You’re a role model,” he told the coaches. “Our athletes are watching us. We’re role models.”

Hamlin outlined his own background, recalling the day when his father enrolled him in hockey to when friend Brad Smith got him into coaching with the Spitfires. He told the coaches there are “four seasons of coaching” and the first one is the end of the season.

At the end of the season, coaches have to evaluate and critically analyze their program. Hamlin acknowledged that it isn’t easy, but “you have to. It’s about the kids we serve.”

Hamlin said that process not only helps make players better, but it actually helped him as a coach.

“It made me a better coach,” he said. “I used to hate it.”

The off-season was the second “season” of coaching, with team building being a part of that.

“The more you know each other, the more you’ll fight for each other,” said Hamlin.

Hamlin added that seasons is also when he recruits players, noting he recruits character first. He also encouraged coaches to find assistant coaches that can help with areas the head coaches may not be strong at so that they complement each other better.

The pre-season is the next stage and then it is the in-season portion of the coaches’ life. Hamlin said he spends about 15 minutes planning a practice, saying it is very important to plan for a good practice. He went over various hockey skills with the coaches and advised them on what drills can be used with players.

“Repetition is absolutely essential,” said Hamlin. “Make sure they got it before you move on.”

University of Windsor men’s hockey coach Kevin Hamlin (left) spoke with a group of AMHA travel coaches recently. AMHA vice president of travel Greg Crain (right) presents Hamlin with a plaque to thank him for his visit.

As for developing goalies, Hamlin encouraged coaches to not try and mold goalies into something they aren’t and said they can defer to a goalie coach for development at that position.

Most of all, Hamlin said he wants players and coaches to have fun.

Hamlin said he was asked to come by AMHA and said he enjoys speaking with coaches at the grassroots level. He indicated he would be willing to return if a request is made.

“This is the very least I can do,” he said. “They are doing tremendous work. They are making differences in the lives of young people. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re here to do.”

Amherstburg one of 40 communities in Goalie Assist Program for 2017-18 season



By Jolene Perron


The Ontario Minor Hockey Association came out with a new program, geared towards giving children between the ages of 5 and 7 a chance to try out a position of goalie.

The program provides a new set of CCM goalie equipment to 40 communities, who will then loan the equipment to their prospective goalies. The associations will retain the equipment at the conclusion of the hockey season so it can be reused the following year. The idea is to continue to introduce new goalies to the position each year.

“We usually get two or three players wanting to be a goalies by novice age,” explained Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association president Marc Renaud. “To support them AMHA supplies goalie equipment to the younger age group, tyke to pee wee for their use each season. With AMHA being awarded a new set of goalie equipment it shows the goalies their position is important to AMHA. Also that we keep our equipment in top condition for their use, will help in off setting a replacement cost for new set we would have to pay. Over all reducing costs reduce registration fees.”

Renaud explained the cost of the equipment for younger goalies is in the area of $700 to $800, and gets more expensive as the child gets older.

There were more than 170 applications received from all across the OMHA for this program, which Renaud refers to as “a great program to assist goalies with equipment.”

“We’re proud to give back and re-invest in our associations through a program like Goalie Assist,” said OMHA Executive Director Ian Taylor. “Hockey is a late-specialization sport and the Goalie Assist program is a great way to introduce the position to players who may not have otherwise had the opportunity. The equipment gives every player a chance to try being a goaltender without making the financial commitment.”

Admirals boasting abundance of local talent on this year’s team



By Ron Giofu


When the Amherstburg Integrity Admirals hit the ice this season, they will be doing so with a lot of locally trained hockey players.

The bulk of the Admirals’ 23-player roster is made of locally developed talent with the local content also included in the team’s ownership and management.

“I’m pumped for the outlook of our team this season, probably more than I’ve been in the four years I’ve been here,” said co-owner Wes Ewer. “I’m pumped about the amount of Amherstburg talent we have in all aspects of the organization.”

Ewer pointed out that 13 of the 23 players are from Amherstburg, three coaches are from Amherstburg and three of the four support and training staff are from Amherstburg. The ownership group of the Admirals also features two local people – Ewer and Matt Fox. Fox is also an assistant coach.

Local players include Kyle Meloche, Zack Yott, Cory Burns, Austin Jennings, Ryan Holzel, Cole Welsh, Luc Warnock, Jack Hubbell, Bryce McGregor, Catalin Morin, Mike Lenson, Brock Beaudoin and Reid Stieler.

“I would challenge anyone to find me a team in the PJHL that has as many people from its town involved in all areas and be a strong team,” said Ewer. “We are very, very proud we have local talent spread out in all areas of the organization. We are going to put a lot of familiar faces on the ice.”

The Amherstburg Integrity Admirals will hit the ice for the 2017-18 PJHL Stobbs Division season with a healthy dose of local talent among their ranks. The Amherstburg executives, coaches and players include (back row, from left): From Left to right (Standing)- Wes Ewer (owner), Zack Yott (#17), Cory Burns (#9), Austin Jennings (#10), Ryan Holzel (#14), Cole Welsh (#4), Luc Warnock (#27), Jack Hubbell (#2), Bryce McGregor (#18), Rob Bondy (assistant coach), Paul Bortignon (general manager/head coach). Front row (from left): Matt Fox (owner/assistant coach), Catalin Morin (#33), Mike Lenson (#8), Brock Beaudoin (#11), Reid Stieler (#7). Not pictured: Kyle Meloche (#12), Grant Wood (room manager), Stu Bertram (assistant trainer), Bryan Hayes (prevention services), Scott Riddell (assistant trainer), B.J. Wiley (assistant trainer).

The Admirals praised the work of the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) for its role in developing the local talent.

“You can’t say enough about AMHA,” said Ewer. “They make it easy for us.”

The coaches are confident about the players they are utilizing, Ewer added, and that those players can be used in all situations.

“We know what (AMHA) is doing and they are doing it right,” he said.

Ewer pointed out Glen Holden and Dennis Emerson, coaches of the Amherstburg Stars midget major and juvenile teams respectively, deserve credit for developing players in their final years of minor hockey.

“We’re going to be in a good position because of the good coaching they are doing with their teams,” he said.

Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon said the level of hockey talent that is developed in Amherstburg is something the Jr. C club can’t turn away from. He said the number of Amherstburg players on the Admirals is due to their abilities rather than simply the team trying to accumulate as many local players as possible.

“I don’t think we’d take Amherstburg kids on the ice if it hindered our hopes for winning a championship,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon believed that winning a championship with so many local players and coaches could be “the first of its kind” in Jr. C.

Fox said AMHA has produced strong hockey players over the years and that trend is continuing. He said with the Admirals now in town, local players have been choosing to stay home to further their careers at the junior level.

“There are teams that are winning in this league that are doing it on the backs of Amherstburg kids,” said Fox.

Ewer added that although they are excited about the number of Amherstburg players in the lineup, they are equally excited about the other players from outside of town they have acquired as well. The Admirals open the regular season Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Libro Centre against the Petrolia Flyers.