Paul Bortignon

Admirals host fifth annual golf tournament

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

The Amherstburg Admirals traded in their sticks for clubs as they celebrated their fifth annual Fall Classic golf tournament this past weekend.

Admirals players, coaches, families and friends golfed at Sutton Creek Golf Club on Sunday for the team’s annual fundraiser. Cory Burns and his team won the overall tournament shooting 18 under par and a total of 54 strokes.

While final numbers are not available yet, general manager/head coach Paul Bortignon estimates 13-14 groups participated.

Victoria Hilton goes for the green during the fifth annual Fall Classic golf tournament presented in wet conditions Sunday at Sutton Creek Golf Course in McGregor.

“Aside from the weather, I thought everything went well,” said Bortignon. “We had a ton of support from the community and all the guys had fun”.

Just a few days before their season opener, the Admirals have set the roster to the 23-player limit. He added they are excited about the players they’ve added and with the returning players but stated there wasn’t a lot of time to prepare before the season opener in Essex, which was played Tuesday night after this issue of the River Town Times went to press.

Ty Moss and Dean Deluca were among many of the rookies who Bortignon said would have a lot of impact for the team. He added Andrew Clark, a 2000 player from Windsor, is more than likely going to be the biggest surprise.

“What he brings on the penalty kill, in energy alone, and especially in the face-off circle, I think he’s going to wow some people in the organization this year,” added Bortignon.

Admirals goalie Ben Larder chips one towards the hole.

With the addition of a handful of rookies being added to the roster, the Admirals will rely heavily on veteran presence to lead the team. Now entering his fifth year with the team, Bortignon said he’s thrilled with what he’s seen from his team’s leaders.

“I really think the leadership we have this year with Austin Jennings as our Captain, Travis Campbell, Cory Burns and Caleb Paquette wearing the As, it may be the best leadership we’ve had in five years,” said Bortignon.

Along with players taking on bigger leadership roles, he stressed the importance of taking it one game at a time and trying to get as many points as possible early in the season.

“When you look at the last 30 games last year, we had the best record in the league,” he said. “That still put us in the fourth spot going into playoffs. If you can get one of the top three seeds in the league, that saves you a round of torture in the playoffs. So for us, that’s a huge goal.”

The Admirals concluded the pre-season with a 5-2 win in Wheatley last Friday. The Admirals’ first home game is Sept. 23 against the Dresden Kings at 7 p.m.

 

Admirals fall 4-3 in overtime in first pre-season game

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Admirals hit the ice Sunday night in pre-season action and lost 4-3 in overtime to the Wheatley Sharks.

However, the loss didn’t faze the Admirals too much as they got a chance to look at some players that could crack the 2018-19 lineup.

Admirals GM/head coach Paul Bortignon said many pre-season games are low scoring so he was happy with the play Sunday night.

Amherstburg’s Isaac Hammond (44) gets a scoring chance during the second period of Sunday night’s pre-season game against the Wheatley Sharks at the Libro Centre.

“I thought the pace was good,” he said.

Bortignon said the Admirals, who had a 3-1 lead early in the third period, don’t want to squander two-goal leads at any point in the season. They were able, though, given a good opportunity to see some younger players and Bortignon was pleased that they were able to see some legitimate physical action in the game rather than one where the teams went through the motions.

“I thought both teams battled hard,” he said. “There were guys we wanted to see step up and they did tonight.”

The second and final exhibition game will be in Wheatley Sept. 7 and after that Bortignon said the final roster will be decided up. The Jr. C team also hosts its annual golf tournament Sept. 9 at Sutton Creek Golf Course with the cost being $140 per golfer or $45 for a steak dinner.

Max Clifford (left, 11) takes the puck around the Wheatley goal as he is being watched by Jordan Paquette of the Sharks (right). Wheatley came back from a two-goal third period deficit and won Sunday night’s pre-season game 4-3 in
overtime. The two teams have another pre-season game in Wheatley Sept. 7.

For more information on the golf tournament, e-mail mary_ewer@hotmail.com.

The Admirals open the regular season Sept. 11 in Essex with the home opener scheduled for Sept. 23 versus Dresden.

Admirals gearing up for 2018-19 PJHL Stobbs Division season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The calendar still reads August but that doesn’t matter to some local Jr. C hopefuls.

Training camp is underway for the Amherstburg Admirals with summer skates having wrapped up last week. Camp began Tuesday evening and continues Thursday evening and will continue on those nights until the first pre-season game Aug. 26 versus Wheatley at the Libro Centre.

The second of two scheduled pre-season games will be in Wheatley Sept. 7.

Admirals general manager/head coach Paul Bortignon said they have had 38 skaters over the summer skate sessions and said last Thursday night they would whittle that down to 30 for training camp.

“By Sept. 8, we’ll be down to 23 players for the main roster,” he said.

The Amherstburg Admirals wrapped up their “summer skates” last Thursday night at the Libro Centre.

Bortignon said there will be veteran players asked to sit out some of the early portions of training camp so coaches can get a better look at some of the younger and newer players vying for spots. Unlike the summer skates, coaches will be on the ice with the players installing systems and taking them through drills.

The Admirals will likely have between five and seven spots available for new players, Bortignon estimated, and said the coaches and executive have liked some of the players they’ve seen so far.

“There’s been a really good group of players that have come out,” he said.

Bortignon noted they have signed new players Ty Moss and Dean DeLuca and they have a good feeling about other players as well.

The Admirals have some optimism heading into the 2018-19 PJHL Stobbs Division season, as Bortignon said they want to improve every game and get home ice for the playoffs. He said they were in a group of five teams – the others being Essex, Dresden, Mooretown and defending league champion Lakeshore – that finished at the top of the standings in a very tight league last year.

“We’ll be as confident as any of the other eight teams in the league,” he said.

The Admirals open the season Sept. 11 in Essex. Their home opener at the Libro Centre is Sept. 23 against Dresden.

Admirals bolster lineup with newest signees

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Admirals will have some new faces in the lineup and the local Jr. C franchise is excited to add them.

Forwards Dean DeLuca and Ty Moss have signed with the Admirals while defenseman Aaron Jacobs has re-signed with the team. DeLuca played with the Amherstburg Stars midget major team last season while Moss comes out of the Windsor AAA hockey program. Jacobs played with the Admirals last year.

Admirals general manager/head coach Paul Bortignon said the team is pleased with the latest additions.

“To sign three guys like this is a good start for us going forward,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon hopes that DeLuca and Moss can be top nine forwards with the club, if not in the top six. While the Admirals led the PJHL Stobbs Division in scoring last season, there were points in their playoff series loss to the Mooretown Flags where they needed a goal and couldn’t get one.

The Admirals will take a different approach offensively next season, Bortignon added, as they plan on putting a lot of pucks to the net and players as well.

That style of play could suit DeLuca, who describes himself as a power forward who likes to go in the corners and drive the net. He added he looks for bounces and deflections in front of the net and patterns his game after Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks. DeLuca said he likes how Kesler bangs bodies and still scores goals.

The Amherstburg Admirals officially signed new players Saturday morning. From left: head coach/GM Paul Bortignon, co-owner Matt Fox, Aaron Jacobs, captain Austin Jennings, Dean DeLuca, Ty Moss and co-owner Gaspare Spada.

Moss describes himself as a two-way forward in the mold of Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals. Moss said he wants to make sure he is good defensively but also be able to put the puck in the net in the offensive end.

Moss said signing with Amherstburg is a good “first step out of minor hockey” and believes he can develop and become a better hockey player with the Admirals.

“It’s a good place to start in junior hockey,” said Moss.

DeLuca is happy to stay close to home to start his junior hockey career.

“It’s nice to play in my hometown,” said DeLuca. “It’s going to be fun to try and move up and do something different.”

For Jacobs, he said he is pleased to return to the Admirals lineup.

“I love it here,” said Jacobs. “It’s one of my favourite places to play. I want to finish my career here with a championship, maybe two.”

Jacobs said the Admirals are a close group and called it “a great organization.”

“I love Amherstburg,” he said. “I come here to fish a lot. I like coming out here.”

Jacobs joked he doesn’t go on the Pointstreak website to check out statistics “because I don’t get a lot of points.” He said he doesn’t like getting scored on but hopes to expand his game offensively this upcoming season as well.

Co-owner Matt Fox said the team is excited to add talented players like Moss, DeLuca and Jacobs and believes the team is being steered in the right direction.

“It’s a big step forward,” he said of the new players.

“We got some good pieces today,” Bortignon added after the players officially signed Saturday morning.

Bortignon said the Admirals were “humbled” last season and they are going to take a game-by-game approach this upcoming season and set their goals that way.

Admirals hand out awards at annual banquet

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The 2017-18 Amherstburg Admirals reassembled Saturday night and celebrated the season, though admitting it wasn’t the result they were looking for.

The local Jr. C hockey team held its annual awards banquet in the Libro Centre’s community room with high hopes for next year and gratitude for the players, coaches, parents and volunteers that helped with this past season. The Admirals season ended in the first round of the PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs after they lost 1-0 in Game 7 to the Mooretown Flags Feb. 18.

“There are a lot of positives going forward,” said co-owner Wes Ewer. “(Co-owners) Matt (Fox), Gaspare (Spada) and I are excited for the future of this team.”

Ewer offered thanks to all who were involved with the team this past season.

“Without the players and parents, we don’t have a hockey team. Thank you for being part of our family,” he said. “I love that we are a tight knit group and I hope we continue that in the future.”

Ewer said they are one of the groups bidding to operate the pro shop at the Libro Centre, saying it would add value to the hockey team.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals held its award banquets Saturday evening at the Libro Centre. Front row (from left): Ben Larder, Reid Stieler, Dylan Muzzatti, Dean Patterson, Ryan Holzel, Ryan Alexander and Cory Burns. Back row (from left): assistant coach Daniel Slipchuck, Cole Welsh, assistant coach Eric Shaw, Josh Talerico, head coach/GM Paul Bortignon, assistant coach Rob Bondy, Austin Jennings, equipment manager Grant Wood and co-owner Matt Fox.

Head coach/general manager Paul Bortignon agreed, telling the group in attendance at the banquet that “we couldn’t do anything without you guys.” He added they are looking forward to a better result in the 2018-19 season though admitted they would missing having Fox behind the bench. Eric Shaw and Daniel Slipchuk have been added to the coaching staff.

Bortignon said “we had a successful year points-wise” though admitted they didn’t really want a first round playoff match-up with Mooretown. He believed the Admirals will take a big step forward next season, though acknowledged they will have to do so without graduating players Ryan Holzel, Ryan Alexander, Dean Patterson and Dylan Muzzatti, the latter being the captain for the 2017-18 season.

“It is a precious time,” Bortignon said of the junior hockey experience. “You are going to remember this going forward. Be proud of yourselves. Be proud of what you accomplished.”

The team’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award was shared by Cory Burns, the PJHL Stobbs Division leading scorer, and Ben Larder, whom Bortignon believes is one of the top goalies in the league. Austin Jennings and Dean Patterson shared the Defenseman of the Year Award with Reid Stieler being named Rookie of the Year.

The John Holzel Photographer Award was shared by the four graduating players. Cole Welsh captured the Don Elvy Teammate of the Year Award while the Earl Allard Coaches’ Award went to Josh Talerico. The Spada Family Bursary was award to Jennings.

Jennings was also named the new captain of the Admirals, with Burns, Travis Campbell and Caleb Paquette being named assistant captains.

“It’s super exciting,” said Jennings, of being named captain. “It’s something I wanted to be since I was a kid.”

Jennings said he wants to help lead his teammates, with the goal being “nothing short of winning it all.” He added he wants to help the younger players as “I want to show them what it takes to be a leader.” Jennings was an assistant captain last year and becoming captain was one of his goals.

“I want to do something good for the town. They’ve been with us through the ups and downs. I want to bring something back for them,” Jennings stated.

The team also paid tribute to the late Tom Schinkelshoek, who was with the president of the team when it was known as the Kingsville Comets and stayed with the team in different roles when the franchise moved to Amherstburg. He returned to Kingsville as president of the Kingsville Kings.

The Admirals will hold summer skates in the next few months before holding their training camp in late August.

The 2018-19 season will get started in September.