Bay of Quinte Region Teams have Captured OPJHL Title on Several Occasions

By Tim Durkin

The Bay of Quinte region has had a good connection with the Central Canadian Championship (Dudley-Hewitt Cup) in the past.

It started in 1981, when the Belleville Bulls, then of the OPJHL, would defeat the Glouchester Rangers to win the title.

In 2003 in Fort Frances, the Wellington Dukes would clinch a birth in the RBC Cup, knocking off North Bay in the Dudley finals. The dominant Dukes would also hoist the Dudley trophy in 2011, beating the tournament host Huntsville Otters.

In 2014, the Prince Edward County club had their shot to host the tournament and would lose a nail biter in OT, to tourney champs, the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots.  It went down as one of the most successful championships ever.

Every three years the (OJHL) gets their opportunity to host the event, and now the Trenton Golden Hawks and the City of Quinte West get their shot.  Before they became the host, they had a chance to go to the tournament in 2016 in Kirkland Lake.

After winning the Buckland Cup (OJHL league championship), Trenton took the Dudley and finished third at the RBC Cup.Trenton showed that they were not just a host, but also a force to be reckoned with this year, as they finished second in the league standings and also went to game play in the OJHL championship series against the Georgetown Raiders.

Both teams knew they were in the Dudley Hewitt Cup, after they both made it to the final. The four team tournament has seen impressive support from the entire Quinte region.  The City of Quinte West stepped up with partial funding support for new upgrades to the Duncan McDonald Memorial Gardens (new press box & score clocks), to Mayor Jim Harrison helping to help pay for fan buses to get fans to road games.

Volunteer and Information Quinte (VIQ) is working with the team to make sure the entire Dudley goes off without a hitch.  The support from the fans was also visible, as the GHawks smashed an OJHL attendance record (20,485).  In ten home playoff games, they welcomed more than 8,500 more to the Dunc. The playoffs did not start the way Trenton was hoping, as they came across a very tough Newmarket Hurricanes crew.

The GHawks would lose back to back home games in the series, before finally winning the series in 6.  They would sweep Stouffville and Cobourg (RBC Cup host), before going 7 with the Georgetown Raiders. Trenton has some really good problems.  They have a defensive core than runs eight or nine capeable members, with two goaltenders (Chris Janzen, Elliot Gerth) who both had playoff GAA’s below 1.75 & save percentages above 940. Their veteran leadership also runs deep with a number of players who have CHL experience or several years in the CJHL.

Lucas Brown and Josh Allan act as co-captains, however Brandon Marinelli, Nick Boddy, Anthony Sorrentino, Jeremy Pullara and countless others could wear either a “C” or “A”.The coaching staff is lead by former NHL’er Jerome Dupont who has Buckland Cups, Dudley Hewitt trophies and a pair of RBC national championships to his credit.

Trenton, like Georgetown, Powassan and Dryden deserve to be in the tournament, but the big question for all four teams will be simple.  In a one game scenario, who will step to the plate to be a hero.

Photo by Amy Deroche OJHL Images