The Vankleek Hill Cougars are looking towards a successful 2022-2023 National Capital Junior Hockey League season, as the team opens its tryouts next Wednesday, August 31.

As is 2021-2022, the local Junior C squad is going into the new season with a young team and plenty of spots to fill and will be looking to improve throughout the year.

“We’re going to be a young team,” said Cougars Head Coach Franky Dopelhamer this week, noting some players have opted not to return for the upcoming season. “Our defensive core will be pretty much intact so defensively we should be OK – we’re just missing a couple of offensive pieces here and there.”

The Cougars will be playing their home games and holding practices at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex in Hawkesbury during the 2022-2023 season, while the Vankleek Hill Community Centre undergoes extensive renovations. The Cougars head coach does not expect playing in Hawkesbury to be an issue.

“They’re trying to accommodate us in Hawkesbury as much as they can and are doing a very good job,” Dopelhamer said, adding he expects supporters to follow the team to its temporary home. “I think our fan base is a mix of Vankleek Hill and Hawkesbury, so I’m optimistic we’re still going to get a good crowd.”

The Cougars are looking in particular for help at the forward positions and in goal this season.

“There’s some openings, so there’s a lot of opportunities for new players to fit in,” Dopelhamer said.

While there will be new players on the squad, many are familiar to the Cougars coaching and management staff, who monitor the progress of local players in minor hockey and research those from other areas.

“In today’s world with the internet, within 10 minutes you can find out a lot about a player,” Dopelhamer noted.

The Cougars will be looking to grow throughout the season and be a contender in the NCJHL by the time the playoffs roll around.

“It’s all about the playoffs – that’s the real season,” Dopelhamer said.

Cougars golf tournament September 17

The Cougars will be holding the team’s annual golf tournament on September 17 at La Cité Golf Course in Hawkesbury. The event is a major fundraiser for the team and spots are filling up very quickly.

“It’s our top fundraiser and we are already getting to 100 participants,” Dopelhamer said this week.

The team will serve lunch, snacks and drinks on the golf course and there will be games and great prizes to win as well. For the first time ever, the Cougars are hosting an evening event, which will include an amazing BBQ chicken breast dinner by A Catered Affair, music, dancing and more gifts and prizes to give away.

A round of golf with cart and lunch is $110 per person and with dinner the package is $140 per person. Dinner only is $35 per person.

To register call or text: 613-677-3579 (Greg), 613-678-0574 (Franky), or 613-676-1859 (Carl).