The Charlottetown Islanders have plenty of reason for optimism entering opening weekend in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) season.
The Islanders hosted the Halifax Mooseheads on Friday, and entertain Cape Breton at the newly-named Eastlink Centre on Saturday.
Everything is new for the Islanders, including name and ownership. Having local owners no doubt will help this team at the gate as well. The Islanders have already sold over 1,400 season tickets, which is a great boost.
Summerside native Grant Sonier is a great addition as general manager, and he certainly has put his stamp on the team with many player moves. Sonier's vast experience, and many contacts at all levels of hockey, will be a huge asset.
Head coach Gordie Dwyer did a fantastic job with the Rocket last year, and no doubt will have success with what appears to be a very young Islanders’ team.
Fans will need to be patient, but no doubt the combination of Sonier and Dwyer will point the Islanders in the right direction.
It sounds like a good time to become an Islanders’ fan. I think with all the changes that Island fans will get to see a major junior hockey team being run like it should be.
Good luck to everyone associated with the Islanders!
Another team called the Charlottetown Islanders is continuing a very good season in the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League (NBSBL).
The Islanders appear to have met their match in the Chatham Ironmen, who lead the best-of-seven semifinal series 2-0 going into Saturday’s Game 3 in Chatham, N.B.
The Islanders beat the Moncton Mets in a five-game series in the opening round. The Islanders deserve a lot of credit for even competing in the very tough New Brunswick league, as it is a very huge commitment to play in this league with all the travel.
What impresses me the most is the fact that the Islanders are playing with such a short bench. Any stats I looked at over the summer had the Islanders having no more than a dozen players at any one time.
They certainly are a versatile team, and coach Jason Monaghan has done a terrific job with this young team. The Islanders look to have a great young pitching staff, and that is something they can continue to build around in future years.
This level of baseball is the region’s best, and it’s great to have a team on P.E.I.
It should be a very good Atlantic mosquito AAA baseball championship in Richmond this weekend.
Who would have thought five years ago that a small community like Richmond would even have a baseball team, let alone have a strong association and a very good host team for an Atlantic championship?
Everyone associated with this program deserves a pat on the back, as they have been a very welcome addition to P.E.I.’s baseball community. Having a program in Richmond is terrific for western P.E.I., as it allows more kids to play with less of a commitment for travel for Prince County teams.
Guys like Duane McNeill and Rob McCormack, amongst others, have done a great job with this program, and evidence of that is on display this weekend.
Richmond also has a team at this weekend's Atlantic peewee AA championship in Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L.
The mosquito-hosting Red Sox are the Island champions. The Charlottetown Royals, under the guidance of Jeff Squires, have also had a terrific season, losing in the provincial final to the Red Sox.
The Royals are also in this weekend's championship, which will make for an even better event.
It will be a great weekend of baseball, and fans are encouraged to come out support the teams. It is always fun to watch the kids play ball, but even more so at this level.
Good luck to everyone associated with this championship!
Wood bats are the only way to go for all ball, whether it be baseball or softball.
As I have said many times, these metal bats do not allow for either game to be played the way they are meant to be played. One has to only look at the Kings County Baseball League and the local slo-pitch league for evidence of that.
The top 10 hitters in the KCBL all had inflated averages, and mainly because of the metal bat. The batting champion had an average of .558 while the No. 10 guy was at .447. That is just not realistic that so many would have averages like that.
The local slo-pitch league used the nicest softball field in the province right up until recently. Too many home runs landing on Granville Street and beyond made for some dangerous situations for traffic and homeowners. The City of Summerside has banned the local league from using Queen Elizabeth Park's Very Important Volunteer Field.
I umpired back-to-back games in this league recently, where there were a total of 107 runs scored. I thought after that the league would be better off paying ball chasers than an umpire, whose role is very limited.
I saw a home run this week on the lower Slemon Park field that landed in the flowerbed in front of the Argus Plane on display. That was quite a shot considering it was a softball.
It may have been a home run with a wood bat, but certainly would not be even close to clearing the road.
Have a great week!
Joe MacIntyre is a Summerside resident. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.