Junior hockey is back this week in Eastern Ontario!

Both the Hawkesbury Hawks and Vankleek Hill Cougars have young teams this season and will be building throughout the year. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for fans in The Review’s coverage region this winter.

NCJHL Showcase kicks off 2022-2023 season this weekend

The National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) Showcase kicks off the 2022-2023 season this Saturday, September 24, featuring all 10 of the league’s teams at Stade Pierre Lafontaine in Gatineau.

Action begins at 9 a.m., as the Almonte Inferno face off against the Metcalfe Jets. The Vankleek Hill Cougars take on the Westport Rideaus at 11:30 a.m.

The defending NCJHL champion Clarence Castors begin their regular season with a matchup against the Morrisburg Lions at 2 p.m., followed by the Gatineau-Hull Volant facing the St-Isidore Eagles in a 4:30 p.m. start.

The final contest of the day will see the South Grenville Rangers take on the North Dundas Rockets. Game time is 7 p.m.

The showcase is a great chance for NCJHL fans to see how all of the teams stack up as they head into the 2022-2023 season. The day also features a barbecue and the bar at the arena is open for regular hours.

Admission to see all of the day’s games is just $10. Stade Pierre Lafontaine is located at 255 Rue Saint Antoine in Gatineau.

Vankleek Hill Cougars on road until October 9

After beginning their 2022-2023 NCJHL regular season this Saturday at the showcase in Gatineau, the Cougars will then travel for two more road games – against Morrisburg and North Dundas – before the team finally plays its first home matchup.

The home games are also out of town this season – with the Vankleek Hill Community Centre undergoing major renovations, the Robert Hartley Sports Complex in Hawkesbury will be the team’s home away from home for the upcoming season. The Cougars’ first game in their new home will be against the Morrisburg Lions on October 9.

While winless in exhibition play, Vankleek Hill looks to have a good team this year. Returning players include Jeremy Marcotte, Brenden Easterbrook, Simon Levac, Fred Durocher-Bourdon, Andy Light-Blais, Sam Guay, Zachary Bigras, Jake Lalonde, Julien Bercier, and Tucker Smith. The team is also hoping to bring back Alexandre Saul. The core of the Cougars is solid.

Vankleek Hill also recently signed 17-year-old forward Landen Sweet, a native of Vankleek Hill who now lives in Chesterville. Landen played last season with the Seaway Valley Rapids U18 AA squad.

Go Cougars!

EOJHL season begins September 27

The Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League has announced its 2022-23 schedule. Opening Day is officially set for Tuesday, September 27, when the Ottawa West Golden Knights play host to the Ottawa Jr. Canadians. The reigning Barkley Cup champion Casselman Vikings welcome the Char-Lan Rebels on Thursday, September 29.

The regular season will consist of 42-games per team.

Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League underway

The Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League got underway last Saturday, with the Cornwall Prowlers taking an 8-5 home victory over the Glengarry Pipers. On Sunday, the Bytown Royals took the Prowlers down a peg by recording a 7-5 win.

The Senior hockey league features 14 teams this season, with the Pipers competing in the East Division, along with Cornwall, Bytown, North Dundas, South Grenville and South Stormont. The West Division features teams from Arnprior, Deseronto, Frontenac, Gananoque, Smiths Falls, and Tweed.

The Pipers, who played out of the Vankleek Hill Community Centre in 2021-2022, will play their home games out of the Glengarry Sports Palace in Alexandria this season, while the Vankleek Hill facility undergoes renovations.

Known as Vankleek Hill’s Sports Authority, Mackenzie Hinton writes regular sports updates on his popular Facebook page. Mac is the statistician for the Vankleek Hill Cougars, Hawkesbury Hawks, and Alexandria Glens Junior hockey clubs. His column appears weekly in The Review.