The Hawkesbury Hawks are back skating at full steam, hosting an evaluation camp last weekend and preparing for the Junior A club’s annual golf tournament on August 8.

The team hosted an evaluation camp in Ottawa from July 23-25, which was a chance for coaches to get their first look at some of the players who will be suiting up for the Hawks during the 2021-2022 Central Canada Hockey League season. While there are still some limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the most part the weekend sessions were run as normal.

“There are still limitations as to the amount of players we are allowed on the ice at one time,” noted Hawks Head Coach and General Manager Rick Dorval. “But we are allowed enough players to be able to host our camp and get moving for next season.”

The return to play after what seemed like an eternity was welcomed by both players and coaches. However it will take a lot of effort to prepare the team for the upcoming season after such a long break.

“It’s really fun, it’s exciting, but it’s a lot of work all at once,” Dorval said. “I’m glad we always made sure that we were prepared for the day we would reopen, because if we had sat around and done nothing I can’t imagine the headaches we would be dealing with right now in getting ready for the season.”

The team is also preparing to host its annual golf tournament on August 8, in memory of the team’s former assistant general manager Lou Nistico.

The event is being held at La Cite Golf Course in Hawkesbury on August 8, beginning at 8 a.m. The tournament is being held as a ‘scramble’ format with a traditional start and teams will be notified of their tee times in advance. The registration fee is $100 per player, which includes a round of golf, cart and a boxed lunch. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there is no dinner being held this year.

Lou Nistico. Photo: Ontario Hockey League/London Knights press release.

A key member of the Hawks’ executive team and a former General Manager of the Kanata Stallions Nistico – who passed away on November 27, 2020, at the age of 67 – is greatly missed by everyone associated with the team.

“We want to honor him and all the time he’s given back to our organization,” said Dorval. “We hope the fans and the community will support the event.”

Nistico was also a fine hockey player himself. Known as Leapin’ Lou during his professional career due to his exuberant goal celebrations, he played three games in the National Hockey League (NHL) and 186 games in the World Hockey Association (WHA). In his best season Nistico potted 20 goals for the Birmingham Bulls during the 1976-77 WHA season.

The Hawks are also looking to recruit sponsors for the tournament, which helps raise funds for the organization’s Junior A and under 18 teams. Sponsors can support the golf tournament by donating a gift or gift certificate, or by sponsoring a hole.

“Our sponsors have been fantastic,” Dorval noted. “Two of the last three years we haven’t really been able to play out of the Robert Hartley arena so it has been tough.”

“I don’t know where we would be without them.”

The golf tournament is an important fundraiser for the Junior A team, said the Hawks head coach and GM. Money raised from the event goes towards equipment and the overall program.

“It benefits the players with the team and makes sure we can provide them with an A1 program and surroundings,” Dorval explained, adding the funds can also help the team improve later in the season as the race to make the playoffs tightens. “If we’re in the mix down the stretch, we’d like to have some type of reserve to be able to go get the player or two that we’re missing.”

Anyone seeking more information on the Hawkesbury Hawks Golf Tournament can contact Rick Dorval via email at [email protected]