Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte
As 2021 comes to an end, Quinte Red Devils president Tyler Longo certainly hopes for a great new year ahead for the local ‘AAA’ minor hockey organization.
Of course, that includes a return to game action as soon as possible in January.
“That way these kids can finish the season and continue on what they’ve started,” Longo said, noting “it’s been a very successful first half of the season for all of our teams. Up until last week we were playing regularly and practising regularly and getting all of our tournaments in. That kind of came to a bit of a halt here in the last couple weeks.”
Quinte’s U16 Red Devils, the OHL draft-eligible group, are having a fantastic season, leading the Eastern Triple-A loop with an undefeated 18-0-3 record. The Madison Excavating and Landscaping-sponsored team continues to top the OMHA rankings for U16 ‘AAA’ teams and are currently ranked sixth overall throughout the whole province.
In late November, the Red Devils had a strong showing at the International Silver Stick Finals in Whitby, posting a 2-0-2 record in pool play before getting edged in the quarterfinal round.
This week they were scheduled to compete in the large annual Toronto Marlboros Holiday Classic Tournament, which attracts more than 200 scouts from various leagues, but it was unfortunately cancelled.
At this time, the U16 Red Devils’ next scheduled home game is Saturday, Jan. 22, 4 p.m., against the Oshawa Generals at the Quinte Sports & Wellness Centre (Mackay).
Meanwhile, Quinte’s Borchert’s Roofing & General Contracting U11 Red Devils also remain undefeated in its ETA league play with a 16-0-0 record. Earlier this month, they also won the Vaughan Kings Classic Tournament.
Their next scheduled game is Saturday, Jan. 22, 3:15 p.m. against the Markham Waxers at the Marmora and District Community Centre.
While the Foley Bus Lines U9 Red Devils continued their development with Hockey Canada’s half-ice program, six other teams are well into their ETA regular seasons.
Quinte’s Gillespie’s Tree Service U10 Red Devils are 4-4-4 and sit in fifth place, the Stampkrete Concrete Contracting U12 Red Devils are off to a great start as well with a fourth-place record of 11-5-3, the Environment 360 Solutions U13 Red Devils are in fourth place at 10-7-4, the Free Flow Petroleum U14 Red Devils are in second place at 15-4-1, The Pita Pit U15 Red Devils are in seventh at 6-6-5 and the McInroy Maines Construction U18 Red Devils are in second at 14-4-4.
A number of the teams have fared well despite battling injuries throughout the season, especially the U14 Red Devils.
“They’ve been depleted big time with injuries because, of course, first-year body contact for that group,” Longo said.
Longo said the U10 and U15 group are battling the competition well in their respective divisions.
“I think the parity at those age groups throughout the ETA is pretty close so it makes for great hockey,” he remarked.
Longo is pleased to see the U18 Red Devils having a great season.
“Usually that’s a program that sometimes struggles just because some kids take off to junior C or you lose them to other leagues,” he said. “(Coach) Jeff Culhane has done a great job with that team.”
There hasn’t been an official OMHA shutdown, Longo said, adding games going ahead likely will depend on the availability of community rinks, many of which are closed until early in January.