Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association

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.

AMHA hands out awards in both travel and house league divisions



The Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) recently made its annual award presentations in both the house league and travel divisions.

The organization also took the time to thank the many volunteers and coaches who helped make the 2016-17 hockey season happen.

The winners were, as follows:


NOVICE TRAVEL – Bruno Cassanova Award

“Outstanding Effort Throughout the Playing Season”


Novice Major – CODY LAVIGNE


ATOM TRAVEL – Kevin McDonough Award

“Outstanding Effort Throughout the Playing Season”




PEEWEE TRAVEL – Mark Whitehead Award

“Outstanding Effort Throughout the Playing Season”


Pee Wee Major – TONY ISSHAK



BANTAM MINOR TRAVEL – Danny Pietrangelo Award

“Outstanding Effort Throughout the Playing Season”




“Positive attitude and has given 100% in practices and games”



MIDGET TRAVEL – Jimmy Brooks Award

“Outstanding Defensive Play Throughout the Playing Season”

Midget Minor – JORDON MEYER

Midget Major – REID STIELER


MIDGET MINOR TRAVEL – Michael Bastien Award

“Outstanding Dedication to Hockey Throughout the Playing Season”



MIDGET MJOR TRAVEL – Randy Oakes Award

“Outstanding Dedication to Hockey Throughout the Playing Season”



MIDGET MJOR TRAVEL – Randy Oakes Award

“Outstanding Dedication to Hockey Throughout the Playing Season”




“Outstanding Dedication to Hockey Throughout the Playing Season”




Novice – Jeremy Bailey Award – outstanding effort throughout the playing season



Atom – Murry Dufour Award – outstanding effort throughout the playing season



Pee Wee – Robert St Pierre Award – outstanding effort throughout the playing season



Bantam – Danny Hallock Award – outstanding effort throughout the playing season



Midget – Keith Berard Award – Outstanding Sportsmanship through out the playing season










TRAVEL MANAGER OF THE YEAR Brandy Peddie Award – Julie Skov









“Kids Curing Cancer” event starts with hockey fundraiser



By Ron Giofu


The annual “Kids Curing Cancer” event put on by the Baillargeon family has received a head start on its fundraising thanks to a hockey-themed event Sunday.

The family and its dedicated group of volunteers teamed with the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA), the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals and the Windsor Spitfires Sunday for “Kids Curing Cancer Day” at the Libro Centre.

It raised $4,341.

Minor hockey players from junior and senior tyke up to bantam participated with players sporting an arm band on their uniforms in observance of the event. The arm bands were supplied by Accurate Creations with students from Western Secondary School helping with them as well.

Senior tyke players gather after playing on “Kids Curing Cancer” day last Sunday.

Senior tyke players gather after playing on “Kids Curing Cancer” day last Sunday.

Jodi Baillargeon, mother of event founder Lauren Baillargeon and siblings Ty and Kierstyn, said the regular fundraiser that has been held the previous three years will still happen Feb. 25 but Sunday’s event was a way to get fundraising started.

The Admirals have always been big supporters of the event, said Jodi, with AMHA joining in to also support the cause. It was originally just going to be for junior and senior tyke teams but AMHA wanted to make it for all age groups.

“The team that brings in the most money gets a team set of Windsor Spitfire tickets,” said Jodi.

A March 5 Spits game will also see discounted ticket prices with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the cause. For those tickets, people have to go through a special website to purchase them. The link is

Lauren was happy to see the players wear the arm bands, stating it was the realization of the work she put in with her family and others.

“I felt really happy and proud of myself,” the youth stated.

Jodi said Lauren wanted to see more children involved with the fundraiser and the hockey event helped accomplish that.

Admirals co-owner Matt Fox said they jumped at the chance to get involved. He noted that Lauren plays “O Canada” on the fiddle before some of the team’s home games.

“Any time we can get out in the community and show some support is a no-brainer for us,” said Fox.

Fox said one of the team’s goals is to get out in the community and back community initiatives like Sunday’s “Kids Curing Cancer” day.

Kierstyn Baillargeon shows her arm band worn during the "Kids Curing Cancer Day" Feb. 5 at the Libro Centre.

Kierstyn Baillargeon shows her arm band worn during the “Kids Curing Cancer Day” Feb. 5 at the Libro Centre.

“It’s a great event,” Fox added. “It’s going to a great cause. It’s a win-win for us.”

Proceeds from this year’s Kids Curing Cancer event go to the Ronald McDonald House inside of Windsor Regional Hospital’s Metropolitan campus. Volunteer Paul Couvillon said such fundraisers are important as it allows them to pay their bills and operate their service.

“We appreciate what they are doing,” said Couvillon.

Couvillon said businesses and others have been very generous from the very beginning and that Ronald McDonald House headquarters are thrilled with what is happening at this area of the province.

Kids Curing Cancer’s fourth annual fundraiser is scheduled for the Fort Fun Centre (formerly the Verdi Club) Feb. 25 with doors opening at 3 p.m., music starting at 4 p.m. and a pasta dinner at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults, $10 for kids under 10 and can be purchased by calling Jodi Baillargeon at 519-551-5606.