Deja Plaizz will have bragging rights for the next year, after winning 2023 Rendez Vous Nissan Pond Rocket Tournament Competitive Division championship last Saturday night (April 8).
In a final game played late Saturday at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex in Hawkesbury, Deja Plaizz trounced pre-tournament favourites Hardens 7-1, in front of a large crowd of enthusiastic supporters. The seats at the rink were filled most of the weekend, as hundreds of fans turned out for games in all divisions on both Friday and Saturday.
“It was our biggest tournament to date, 22 teams and a ton of crowd,” said Jason Jackson, of the Vankleek Hill Sports Club, which organized the tournament.
In Rec Division play, the Mighty Ducks topped the similarly-named Mighty Drunks 5-3 in a close final game between two evenly matched teams. The Wrecked Division was won by All Swedish-No Finnish, while Chicks With Sticks took home the title in the Ladies Division.
With the Vankleek Hill arena closed for renovations, the 2023 edition of the Pond Rocket Tournament was held for the first time in Hawkesbury. Organizers of the tournament partnered with the Hawkesbury Hawks Junior A team on the after party, canteen and bar for the two-day competition.
“I’m happy that the money is going back into Junior hockey,” Jackson said, “and I think (the Hawks) were very happy with the turnout.”
In addition to helping Hawkesbury’s Junior A hockey team, the 2023 edition of the Pond Rocket Tournament raised $2,000 for the Vankleek Hill Sports Club. Those funds will go towards purchasing new soccer nets and other equipment at Pleasant Corners Public School, where local minor hockey games are held by the sports club.
The success of this year’s tournament, along with the number of teams who would like to play in the various Pond Rocket divisions, may also lead to games being played both in Vankleek Hill and Hawkesbury in 2024.
“We had to turn away a number of teams this year,” Jackson said. “I think if we wanted to let everybody play who wanted to play, we’d have to go with two rinks. We’re just trying to figure out the logistics of that for next year.”
Gatineau-Hull Volant sweep Clarence Castors in NCJHL finals
The surprising Gatineau-Hull Volant have won the National Capital Junior Hockey League championship, after sweeping the Clarence Castors in the league’s final series.
Gatineau-Hull won the Junior C league’s title at home on Saturday (April 8) at Centre Slush Puppie in Gatineau, with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over a resilient Castors team that finished second overall during the regular season. The win followed up a 4-3 victory over the Castors in Clarence on Friday night (April 7) that put the Volant up three games to zero in the series. Gatineau-Hull won the first two games of the series by 5-3 and 4-2 scores.
The Volant, who finished in fourth overall in the regular season standings, continually overcame adversity during NCJHK playoffs – barely making it out of the first round, after trailing the fifth-place Vankleek Hill Cougars 4-3 late in a deciding Game 5 at home before coming back to win and move on to the second round. In round two, Gatineau-Hull stepped up on the road in Game 7 to stun the first place South Grenville Rangers 9-4 and earn the right to face the defending NCJHL champion Castors in the finals.
Gatineau-Hull goaltender Zachary Major, who started all 16 of the Volant’s playoff games, was named the 2023 NCJHL playoffs Most Valuable Player.
Vikings down 3-1 to Perth in EOJHL finals
The Casselman Vikings are in tough in their bid to repeat as the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Barkley Cup champions.
Casselman’s Junior B squad trails the Perth Blue Wings three games to one, after falling at home in overtime 4-3 on Sunday (April 9). The win was the third straight for the Blue Wings, who won Game 3 5-3 on Friday, April 7 and Game 2 3-2 in overtime on Thursday, April 6.
The Vikings will be looking to bounce back and avoid elimination in Game 5, which is scheduled in Perth on Tuesday, April 11, beginning at 8 p.m. If necessary, Game 6 will be played at the J. R. Brisson Complex in Casselman on Thursday, April 13. Game time is 8 p.m. Game 7, if necessary is scheduled in Perth on Friday, April 14, beginning at 8 p.m.