Ice Chips and Canoe Quips

Panther Points!

With the wicked weather over the weekend most games were postponed but I forgot to mention the great result that the Bantams had down at a tournament down in Aurora.

The Panthers beat Belleville Bulls 6-3, lost 4-1 to the Oakridge Aeros, beat the Cleveland Sharks 2-1 and Aurora Tigers 2-1. Although the Panther Bantams won 3 of 4 in their half of the division, only one team advanced to final and because they had lost to Oakville who didn’t lose a game, Oakville went to the final. All in all, a great result in a very competitive event. Keep up the hard work team!

In the Panther alumni category, longtime Panther goalie and OFSAA runner Evan Bayer is still maintaining the peak of physical conditioning after catching up with him over the holidays. He is training all winter in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Evan, living in Calgary is also a provincially recognized cyclist and looks to compete in a He also plans to do a number of Duathlons coming up this coming spring.

Also on the Island for Christmas was Panther stalwart Jacob Stadnyk. Turns out that he is coaching a Pee Wee ‘A’ team in the Toronto area. He is working with the goalies and skaters’ individual skill development. He is enjoying the position but says he is a little frustrated with the ‘compete’ level (which is way different from his own dedication and work ethic when he played).

It is so good to see Lucas Little back behind the bench, coaching with the Panthers after his bout with cancer. It is amazing to see him and others giving back to the hockey community. It is another often the forgotten benefit of sports: that payment forward of time; expertise; and experience to the next generation.

Congratulations as well to memorable Panther Frank “fists of steel” Rizzuto and his wife Crystal, who are anticipating a youngster later this year.

Got “Arena Etiquette”?

In this week’s Manitoulin Minor Hockey spotlight the MMHA Executive would like to post another important message that sometimes is forgotten during the pressure of the game:

It is always exciting walking into an arena to watch a youth play hockey. You can feel the excitement in the air, especially as Manitoulin Minor Hockey is getting closer to playoffs and teams are trying to get those last points to raise themselves up in the rankings.

Like any sport, there is a code of etiquette and it is no different in hockey. Whether you are the parent, grandparent, or the one who brought the child, we encourage you to cheer for that child’s team, but keep it positive. Negative comments at the other team aren’t really helping your child win their game. While the game is exciting, if you have brought other children with you, please keep an eye on them, no one else is watching them and there are lots of potential hazards at an arena and we want all kids safe. Plus if they are running around the arena there is a chance they are going to run into an elder person and cause injury.

There are a lot more people involved in your child’s hockey team than just the players.  There is a whole bench staff volunteering their time to ensure your child has a fun and safe hockey game. Let’s give them the respect they deserve as they try and coach your team to a win. If you have a concern, wait 24 hours, things always look different after that. Let’s not forget the 2 or 3 others that are on the ice with your child – the referees. They are there to give players an opportunity to play. Every year on Manitoulin we seem to be decreasing in our number of referees. One of the main reasons is the heckling from the spectators. Those referees are doing their best out there and while they might make mistakes occasionally, several of them are young students learning this skill, and they are constantly gaining experience to one day be that respected veteran official. Keep in mind, without them your child only goes to practices.

It’s fantastic how much Island residents love and support our hockey teams!  We are so proud of our players and their accomplishments, so let’s keep it positive in the arena! See you at the rink.

By the way this spot is also open for managers/coaches to celebrate the successes of their MMHA teams. I must again emphasize that teams are always in a state of transition from year to year, month to month maybe even day to day. Triumphs are always relative to your teams’ past achievements and they may not look on paper as initially impressive as a team with a better record. However, team staff knows all of the things their charges have improved on and that progression, is just as worthy to a team with a superior position in the standings. Please send your squad’s story to:!

A good sport is good for sports