Dan Pettypiece

Back to Basics girls hockey school wraps up

Special to the RTT

 

Back to Basics Girls Hockey School recently wrapped up its third season.

This was the first season operating out of the Vollmer Centre in LaSalle because the town of Amherstburg had chosen to reduce summer ice service to the community this year. Nonetheless, director Bill Atkinson was pleased with the enrollment even though it dropped a bit from the over 60 participants from last year. One of the motivating factors for him running the school 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.

(Submitted photo)

Co-director Dan Pettypiece said it was great getting back on the ice with the girls again this summer.  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 said. “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.”

(Special to the RTT)

The clinic featured two age groups – 5-8 years and 9-16 years – working on their skills for an hour and half each session. Pettypiece said it was a perfect way to cap off the summer and get the girls ready for the upcoming season.  Bill and Dan would like to thank the Town of LaSalle and especially the staff at the Vollmer for their great service.  We would also like to thank the parents & participants for following us to the Vollmer this year.

Lastly, we would like to wish the girls a safe and enjoyable hockey season. See you at the rink.

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.