The 2016 Central Canada Region Championship hits the ice in Kirkland Lake, Ontario with the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s (NOJHL) Kirkland Lake Gold Miners playing host to the 2016 Dudley Hewitt Cup. With the Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL), Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) and the Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) joining the Gold Miners in Kirkland Lake, this seasons edition of the Dudley Hewitt Cup will have four sets of brothers on three separate rosters.
The SIJHL champions, the Fort Frances Lakers have 20 year old Fort Frances, Ontario native twins Davis and Nolan Ross heading into their first Dudley Hewitt Cup with the Ross’ playing in 2015 in their hometown with the Lakers. Defenseman Davis Ross finished the 2015 – 2016 SIJHL season with a total of 10 goals and 17 assists in 34 games along with accumulating 34 minutes in penalties for the Lakers while older brother of two minutes, Nolan Ross finished the season with 26 goals and 26 assists with Fort Frances forward tallying a total of 36 minutes in penalties in 53 games.
Davis mentioned that “it is pretty special to have him with me, especially since it’s our last junior ‘A’ season and it was our first time winning a championship together!”
“Well we’re both very fortunate to be able to play together in our last season of junior as 20 year olds. We are really looking forward to it, just trying to extend the season as long as we can,” said Nolan.
The NOJHL champions, the Soo Thunderbirds have two sets of brothers on their roster entering the 2016 Dudley Hewitt Cup with Michael and Matt Caruso and rugged twin brothers Drake and Darian Pilon looking to help the Thunderbirds defend their 2015 Central Canada Region Championship title. 19 year old Matt will be playing in his second straight Dudley Hewitt Cup with helping the Soo to the 2015 championship. The Sault Ste Marie native sunk 38 goals as a forward with the Thunderbirds with adding 39 assists in 66 games in the 2015 – 2016 season. Older brother Mike is also making his second appearance at the Dudley Hewitt Cup with the 20 year olds first experience coming in his rookie season with the Thunderbirds in spring of 2013. In 39 games this past season, the 20 year old Caruso scored 11 goals and assisted on another 17 for the Soo while spending a total of 58 minutes in the penalty box for the Thunderbirds in 2015 – 2016.
Matt Caruso told the Junior Hockey Network that playing with Michael is that “it is an honour to play with my brother in general, but to play with him for a championship is that much better. We’ve both worked so hard all year along with our team. Me and Mike are close on and off the ice and will be looking for his first RBC appearance, and my second.
Waskaganish, Quebec natives Alex and Trevor Hester played for the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners during the 2015 – 2016 NOJHL season. The Hester’s joined the Gold Miners halfway through the coming from the Pelham Panthers of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. 20 year old Alex played in 39 games for the Gold Miners in 2015 – 2016 with tallying a total of 12 goals and contributing on another 20 for Kirkland Lake. The Waskaganish, Quebec forward had 40 penalty minutes for the Gold Miners in his 39 games in 2015 – 2016. 19 year old Trevor Hester played 37 games for the Gold Miners in 2015 – 2016 with sinking one goal and adding one assist for Kirkland Lake. Hester had a total of 16 minutes in penalties for the Gold Miners in his first season Kirkland Lake.
Now finally to the Pilon twins, Drake and Darian Pilon, no matter what team they face, the Pilon brothers will get under their opponents skin with their physicality. The 17 year old forward are in their first season with the Soo Thunderbirds. Darian enters the 2016 Dudley Hewitt Cup with 53 games under his belt with the Soo, where the Sault Ste Marie, Ontario native found the back of the net for a total of 19 goals and 29 assists along with being sent to the penalty for a total of 81 minutes in penalties so far in the 2015 – 2016 NOJHL season. In 56 games with the Soo, Drake had 104 minutes in penalties as a rookie along with adding 18 goals and 28 assists for the Thunderbirds heading into Kirkland Lake on May 3rd.
“It means a lot it’s really special to just play with your brother like the Caruso brothers, but Darian and I have had the privilege for every year, but this tournament is different it is more important and more valuable then ever because this could be our last year together. We want to show what we can do together and do everything we can to help our team be successful and make it to the next tournament in Lloydminister, Alberta at the national championships, the 2016 RBC Cup,” said Drake.
2016 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Schedule
May 3rd – 7th ( Kirkland Lake, ON)
Tuesday, May 3rd
Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) vs. Soo Thunderbird (NOJHL) 2:00 p.m
Opening Ceremonies 7:00 p.m
Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) vs. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 7:30 p.m
Wednesday, May 4th
Soo Thunderbird (NOJHL) vs. Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) 2:00 p.m
Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) vs. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 7:30 p.m
Thursday, May 5th
Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) vs. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) 2:00 p.m
Kirkland Lake Gold Miners vs. Soo Thunderbird (NOJHL) 7:30 p.m
Friday, May 6th
Semifinal: 3rd Round Robin vs. 2nd Round Robin 7:30 p.m
Saturday, May 7th
Final: Semifinal Winner vs. 1st Round Robin 7:30 p.m