Grightmire Arena user groups were informed last week the city facility will be unavailable for the rest of the season, the second straight year they've all been displaced, as contractor Century Group Inc. works on a revised schedule for the addition project that is already more than three months past an original deadline.
City of Hamilton staff said last week there still is no firm date for programming to resume at the arena that has been closed for more than a year so far.
“It is unlikely that the hockey teams will be able to return to Grightmire in the 2018-2019 season,” Robyn Ellis, the city's manager of strategic planning said.
“The contractors had already made promises the rink would be done and open by several different dates, which never happened."
The Blues split the week with a win and a loss. At home the Blues came out flat and fell to the Grimsby PeackKings 6-0.
Two nights later they bounced back with some of the best hockey they’ve played this season. The Blues were led by Scott McLaren’s two goals to skate to a 5-2 win over the Hagersville Hawks. McLaren had been out of the line up for a month with an injury and got cleared to play as did Blues captain Jamison Buck. These two make a difference in the line up as they are both leaders on and off the ice.
Connor Pilon from Carter Franks got the Blues on the scoreboard quick in the first period, then the Hawks tied it up before McLaren scored his first goal of the game on a power play set up by Brandon Waterhouse. In the second period Ryan Chandler scored his first goal of the season which would eventually end up the winner for the Blues when he was set up by Will Thomas. Brady Bannon then scored assisted by Jeff McDonough followed by the Hawks getting one back. The third period saw McLaren getting his second of the night with Thomas earning his second assist of the night. Jake Fleming in net for the Blues earned the win making 22 saves while the Blues fired 32 shots at the Hagersville goalie.
After the game Blues head coach Chris Ridgewell said, “that’s definitely the best the team has played in the two weeks since I took over the head coaching position. We have to build off that win and to do that we need more commitment from the players. We need everyone showing up to practices”. It’s been tough for the players this season practicing at different rinks, not having a dressing room, just not having a home rink which is unheard of in junior hockey.
The Blues host the Hespeler Shamrocks at Chedoke Arena this Thursday at 7pm then are in Dunnville on Friday night to take on the Dunnville Mudcats.
The Blues only playing once this past week hosted the Port Dover Sailors and beat them 2-1 on what was the Blues 3rd home rink of the season. The Sailors took a 1-0 lead then Chris Cudek tied it up finishing off a beautiful setup by Carter Franks and Connor Vulgan. Stephen Bell from Conor Pilon put the Blues up 2-1. Both teams had many scoring chances in the 3rd period but solid goaltending by Connor Ogg allowed the Blues to hold onto the lead for a much needed win.
This is the third rink the Blues have used for their home games so far already this season. They moved over to the green rink at Chedoke which is smaller then the Olympic size ice surface they’ve been playing their home games on since moving from Olympic Arena. The size of this ice surface suits the Blues style more then the huge Olympic size rink. But the team is anxious and looking forward to the day they are back playing at the Market St. Arena.
The Blues host the Grimsby PeachKings this Thursday at 7pm at Chedoke Arena.
Special Note: On Sunday November 18th the Blues will be hosting the Niagara Riverhawks at Olympic Arena at 7:30pm.
The Blues had another tough week with a short bench, with two losses and one tie. On Thursday night at home Dunnville won 5-3 with an empty net goal although the Blues out shot the Mudcats 45-25. The Blues found themselves down 4-0 before making a goalie change when Connor Ogg replaced Jake Fleming in goal. Patrick Vulgan scored once and Chris Cudek scored twice to make the score 4-3 before the Terriers scored on the empty net for a 5-3 win.
The next night it was off to Grimsby to play the PeachKings. After a scoreless first period in the second period Vulgan gave the Blues a 1-0 lead on a goal assisted by Cudek and Brady Bannon. The Blues allowed Grimsby to tie up the game 5 minutes into the third on a giveaway in their own end of the ice, then Grimsby scored again when they found themselves alone in front of the Dundas goal putting in a rebound. After the game Assistant Coach Brian Edwards said, “a couple missed assignments was the difference in the game, we should not have opposing players standing in front our net unattended. On the bright side Ogg had a great game in net for us.”
Sunday it was off to Port Dover to play the Sailors where the Blues earned their first point in the last two weeks with a 5-5 tie after overtime. Scoring twice for the Blues was Bannon and one each by Cudek, Alex Campbell and Brandon Waterhouse. Ogg earned the tie in net for the Blues.
The Blues have been really struggling with a short bench for the last month due to injuries to some key players and players missing for mid term exams, but hope to have two of them back in the line up for their next home game on Thursday November 1st when they host the Port Dover Sailors at 7pm. Blues GM Mike Spadafora said, “we can't panic we’ve been playing short for the last month with some real key players out of the line-up, put those guys back in the line-up and we have a totally different team. We also have a few players that haven't shown the commitment we need and unless they change pretty quick they will be replaced.”
Injuries have caught up to the Blues this past week. The Blues playing short handed because of injuries in Glanbrook on Wednesday night found themselves in a tight battle with the first place Rangers. It was a fast paced game with the Blues coming out on the short end loosing 6-4 in a game that could have gone either way. To make it worse the Blues lost two more players in that game with suspensions for fighting.
The next night at Chedoke Arena on the Olympic ice surface where the Blues have been playing their home games the bench became shorter. Hagersville Hawks came with a full bench and the Blues started the game with 9 forwards and four defencemen, with one being a forward moved back. If it wasn’t for bad luck the Blues wouldn’t have any luck, as they lost another defenceman with a concussion early in the game. The Hawks skated to a 4-2 win over the exhausted Blues.
A few days off and the Blues hoping to get a few players back found themselves playing short again at home on Sunday afternoon. Short six player, 3 defence and and 3 forwards it didn’t take long for the Blues to run out of gas loosing 9-5 to the Niagara Riverhawks. It was a tough five days for the team.
Assistant coach Brian Edwards said, “its tough we are missing some key players, you cant take our captain Jamison Buck our leader on defence, forwards Scotty McLaren and Stephen Bell two of the top forwards out of the line up, it leaves a huge hole. Then we have a few players suspended and sickness hit a couple. We just have to get healthy and get through this.”
The Blues are hoping to get a few players back before they host the Grimsby PeachKings on Thursday night at Chedoke Arena. Game time is 7pm.
DMHA Executive Update:
President Steps Down
DMHA President, Kristina Dodd, has stepped down from her position effective immediately. The DMHA will continue to operate for this season, with a vacant President position. Current DMHA board members will assume the responsibilities of the vacant position to ensure the best for all of our players throughout the season. Please direct all necessary communication to DMHAinfo@gmail.com, and your emails will be filtered to the appropriate board member.
DMHA continues to operate with open positions on the executive. We are looking for support to help out with various tasks and initiatives. Please contact DMHAinfo@gmail.com if you are available to volunteer.