Pat Garrett

General Amherst, Amherstburg police square off in charity hockey game



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team and the Amherstburg police hockey team squared off in a game during the holidays, but the big winners were Ontario Special Olympics.

The charity game saw the Bulldogs win on the scoreboard but no one seemed to care about the final result afterword as proceeds went to the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which in turn helps support Special Olympics.

Sgt. Mike Cox said it was the reintroduction of the charity game with General Amherst, noting that players who now play for the police team once played against them when they were in high school. He hoped it would be the first of two charity hockey games before the season is over.

The General Amherst Bulldogs and Amherstburg police hockey teams gather for a group photo following their charity hockey game for the Torch Run Dec. 22. The Torch Run helps support Ontario Special Olympics.

“I’m hoping to play the Admirals at the end of their season,” said Cox. “Hopefully it will be in June after they win a championship.”

The game against the Bulldogs featured several father/son combinations on the Amherstburg police team, including Don and Gage Brown, Chris and Luke Renaud as well as Joe and Kyle Shaw. Joe Shaw is usually an assistant coach with the Bulldogs while Kyle is a former OHL player. Another former OHL player, Zack Percy, also suited up for the police team.

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said his team had the opportunity to participate in the charity game and they seized it.

“Obviously, it’s a fantastic cause,” Garrett said of Ontario Special Olympics. “It’s a cause we all believe in.”

Garrett credited General Amherst principal Melissa DeBruyne for getting the game back on the Bulldogs’ schedule. DeBruyne, who played up for the police team, said she was glad to do it.

“It’s just about giving back to Special Olympics,” she said. “It was an opportunity to bring back a past tradition.”

The final day before the Christmas break for the school also saw a staff-student volleyball game and the staff prepare breakfast for the students.

“It’s about bringing the community in,” she said. “It’s the spirit of giving. It was a lot of fun.”

Sgt. Mike Cox drops the puck between General Amherst boys hockey team captain Josh DiCarlo (left) and principal Melissa DeBruyne, who suited up for the police team at the recent charity hockey game.

DeBruyne said the school received donations from Maria’s Restaurant, Meloche’s No Frills, Sobeys, parent council and teachers.

As for her playing for the police team, DeBruyne said she enjoys playing hockey whenever she gets a chance.

“I’ve got such a passion for hockey,” she said. “Every time I get on the ice, I love it.”

Bulldogs rally to salvage tie with Kingsville



By Ron Giofu


In a game that was similar to their previous one against Essex, the General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team rallied to salvage a 3-3 tie against Kingsville.

The Bulldogs and Cavaliers battled at the Libro Centre just before the Christmas break began and the visitors broke out to a 3-0 lead midway through the second period. The third Kingsville goal seemed to awaken the Bulldogs, as they quickly responded with two goals on the same shift. Max Clifford and Josh DiCarlo made it a 3-2 game before the intermission.

Isaac Hammond tied the game in the third period and that is how it ended.

“It seems to be our M.O. lately,” said General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett, of coming from behind to tie games. “We certainly don’t want to make a habit of that.”

General Amherst’s Isaac Hammond (left) drives to the net in the boys hockey team recent game against the Kingsville Cavaliers. The game ended in a 3-3 tie.

Garrett pointed out it was their fifth game in two days, as they advanced to the semi-finals of a tournament that week as well.

“Kingsville was missing a few players,” Garrett added. “We may have taken them too lightly. It’s nice to be able to pull out the tie.”

Garrett said the tie puts the Bulldogs in sole possession of second place in their division, the WECSSAA “AA” Cullen Conference. General Amherst is 3-1-2 on the season at the break, good for eight points. L’Essor and Essex each have nine points but General Amherst has a game in hand on both teams.

General Amherst’s Josh DiCarlo scores a second period goal against Kingsville Dec. 21. The Bulldogs overcame a 3-0 deficit and tied Kingsville 3-3.

Parts of the Bulldogs’ game that Garrett wants to improve include offensive zone pressure, as he stated that much of their offense comes from the perimeter and not in front of the net. He also wants to improve the powerplay.

“Josh and Max are carrying the load offensively,” said Garrett. “We’ve got some other pretty good players that have got to start hitting the back of the net.”

The Bulldogs resume WECSSAA action with a game at the Vollmer Centre in LaSalle Jan. 9 versus the Sandwich Sabres. The following game is not until Jan. 16 when the Belle River Nobles come to the Libro Centre for a 3 p.m. game.

Bulldogs start WECSSAA boys hockey season with win and loss



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team has started the 2017-18 WECSSAA season with a 1-1 record.

The Bulldogs opened the season last Tuesday afternoon on the road with a 4-2 win over L’Essor. The game, played at Tecumseh Arena, saw Brock Beaudoin lead the way for General Amherst with two goals. Josh DiCarlo and Max Clifford each had two goals.

The home opener for the Bulldogs was two days later but it was the Sandwich Sabres who left the Libro Centre Thursday with a 4-3 win. The Bulldogs led 3-1 after two periods on goals from Brandon Salvati, Nate Lenson and Colle Zelle but Sandwich scored three goals in quick succession in the third period for the come-from-behind victory.

Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said the Bulldogs were a bit “flatfooted” in the third period against Sandwich but otherwise was happy with the start of the season.

“I’m excited about the start of the year and the rest of the year for that matter,” Garrett said after Thursday’s game. “I think we’ll be right in the mix. That’s a good group of kids (in the Bulldogs’ dressing room).”

General Amherst’s Isaac Hammond (right) skates past Sandwich’s Connor Fabel last Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre. Sandwich picked up a 4-3 come-from-behind victory.

Garrett said they were missing DiCarlo against the Sabres but didn’t use that as an excuse. He said the loss and how the loss happened can be used in the Bulldogs’ favour going forward.

“It’s something we can learn from and move on,” he said.

The team saw key members of its defense corps from last year graduate while two other players moved on as well. Despite those losses, a number of players have returned and Garrett said “it goes to show you the depth we had.”

General Amherst’s Nick Bozin brings the puck into the Sandwich zone during the third period of the Nov. 30 game at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg.

The Bulldogs have three scoring lines, Garrett added, and six mature defenseman with a Grade 10 blueliner also showing he can play well. Garrett said he never feels nervous about who he puts out over the boards.

“That’s a huge bonus for us,” he said.

The Bulldogs are on the road twice this week. They play Brennan today (Wednesday) at the WFCU Centre before going to the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore to battle the Belle River Nobles. General Amherst’s next home game is Dec. 21 at 3 p.m. versus the Kingsville Cavaliers.

General Amherst has two all-stars, one playing in showcase game



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team features two WECSSAA all-stars and one of those players is also advancing to play in the Pro Hockey Life Showcase Series.

Brock Beaudoin, a second team WECSSAA all-star, will represent General Amherst in the showcase game tonight at the Libro Centre with the game getting underway at 6 p.m. The game is designed to let high school players get additional exposure to scouts from higher levels of hockey, such as Jr. B or Jr. C.

“I was surprised,” said Beaudoin. “I’m pretty excited about it.”

Pat Garrett, head coach of the Bulldogs hockey team, said it’s a good opportunity for Beaudoin, describing him as “a physical goal scorer.”

“I like to lay the body out there,” said Beaudoin.

Beaudoin hopes to play either Jr. C or midget major hockey next season.

Reid Stieler (left) and Brock Beaudoin of the General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team were both WECSSAA all-stars with Stieler being named to the first team and Beaudoing to the second team. Beaudoin will play in the May 10 Pro Hockey Life Showcase Series game at the Libro Centre starting at 6 p.m.

Reid Stieler (left) and Brock Beaudoin of the General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team were both WECSSAA all-stars with Stieler being named to the first team and Beaudoing to the second team. Beaudoin will play in the May 10 Pro Hockey Life Showcase Series game at the Libro Centre starting at 6 p.m.

“It’s a huge honour to have Brock selected to the showcase game,” added Garrett. “The fact that it’s at home is a nice touch for Brock.”

Also competing in the showcase game are two Villanova players – Chris Francia and Cole Welsh.

Reid Stieler was also recognized recently as he is a first-team WECSSAA all-star.

“Obviously, I’m honoured about it,” Stieler said of his all-star selection. “It’s a great feeling to be recognized.”

This is the second year in a row that Stieler has been named a first-team WECSSAA all-star. He hopes to join a Jr. C club next year, possibly the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals, or play for the Amherstburg Stars midget major team.

Amherstburg resident selected in OHL draft by Spitfires



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg is already well represented on the Windsor Spitfires thanks to Michael DiPietro and could be again thanks to Stefan Dobrich.

Dobrich, a defenseman with both the Sun County Panthers and General Amherst Bulldogs, was selected 183rd overall by the Spitfires in the recent Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. The son of former owner Peter Dobrich also had interest from the Erie Otters and Flint Firebirds.

“It’s an awesome experience. I worked hard to get to where I am. It’s definitely something to be proud of,” said Dobrich.

Dobrich said he plans on proving himself and showing that his talent and determination got him to where he is thus far.

Stefan Dobrich

Stefan Dobrich

“There’s always something to prove. You have to prove you belong there,” he said. “You’ve always got to prove you belong there.”

Noting he was happy to be drafted, Dobrich said it didn’t matter to him what round he went in. He was at home with his family when he got the news and they celebrated once the word came.

Describing himself as a defensive defenseman who shuts opposition players down and kills penalties, the General Amherst student said he is keeping all career avenues open and hopes to play junior next season to get exposure to a higher level of hockey.

“I am going to try and make a living playing hockey when I’m older. That’s definitely my goal,” he said. “I’m relieved to get drafted.”

Although he has accomplished one objective by getting drafted, Dobrich knows there is still a long road ahead.

“There’s definitely a lot of work (to do),” he said. “I got there, now I have to stay there.”

Dobrich has already attended one mini-camp with the Spitfires and he and his trainer are awaiting word from the OHL club on what kind of off-season conditioning program they want him to do. He also thanks his parents for all of their support over the years.

“It’s been a lot of driving up the highways,” he said. “I’d like to thank them the most.”

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said Dobrich is the second Amherst player to be drafted in the 11 years he has coached the program. The other was Kyle Shaw, a fifth-round selection by Sudbury in 2009. Garrett said he was happy Dobrich was drafted by Windsor, as it keeps him local where family and friends can see him play.

“He’s not only a great hockey player, he’s also a great student and a great kid,” said Garrett, of Dobrich.

Garrett praised Dobrich’s work ethic and said while he is sometimes quiet, he’s also “a fun kid to be around.” He added it is an honour to have another player that played at General Amherst be selected by an OHL team.