IThe winner of almost 700 games behind the bench of the Wellington Dukes has resigned from the team effective immediately.
Head coach/GM Marty Abrams has left the club after coaching 16 of the past 18 seasons in the county. He took over for Bob Thompson before the 1999-00 season and coached the Dukes for four seasons until 2003. During this time period, Wellington won two division titles and clinched Buckland Cup and Dudley Hewitt Cup championships in 2003. He also made a semi-final appearance with the Dukes at the RBC Cup National Championship in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island the same year.
Following a two-year stint with Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League, Abrams returned to the Dukes in 2005. In the last 12 seasons, Abrams and the Dukes won five more division titles, another Buckland Cup and Dudley Hewitt Cup in 2011, made another stop at the RBC Cup in 2011 and made a third appearance at the Dudley Hewitt Cup in 2014 when it was held in Wellington.
Over the course of his career in Wellington, Abrams has coached over 1000 games, winning 693 of them. He also was chosen to represent Canada six times for international events as a coach.
In a press release Tuesday, an emotional Abrams said the Dukes was the team that "represents where I crafted my coaching career" and that "will always hold a special place in my heart." Abrams then went on to thank the late Gary Lavender, who was a "tremendous supporter" of him coming up through the coaching ranks, as well as current Dukes owner Michael Mulvihill. The Wellington Dukes organization would like to wish Marty Abrams succes in his future endeavours.
The Trenton Golden Hawks organization and the Duncan McDonald Memorial Gardens will be the centre of the Ontario Junior Hockey League universe this coming week.
That’s when the league’s first ever Winter Showcase comes to town.
Trenton will be welcoming in all 22 OJHL teams from Monday January 23 to Wednesday January 25, 2017. The teams will play two games each over the three days
The Golden Hawks franchise hosted the Northeast Conference Showcase last year, which is something that assistant GM John McDonald says played a big part in achieving this year’s showcase.
“As far as last year I think we set the bar so high for ourselves, to show the league and hockey people in general what Quinte West is capable of doing and we achieved our goal,” McDonald said.
“We hope to show the fans and scouts some outstanding hockey and have people talking about our city and the Golden Hawks Organization.”
McDonald admits that it will be busier than a normal game and that staff and volunteers will have to be prepared to adjust if something goes awry. He says everyone will be prepared though.
“Our front end staff and the volunteers have had a number of meetings and are ready for the challenge,” McDonald said.
Many NCAA and U Sports scouts will be in attendance for the three days to watch all 22 teams and find new players to recruit for their programs. One player on the Trenton Golden Hawks, forward Jeremy Pullara, says he is eager to impress these scouts and hopefully try to make it to the next level.
“Being able to play in front of the scouts this weekend will be very fun. This is a huge opportunity for myself and my teammates to show what we are capable of and it is important that we all come prepared so we can be at the top of our game,” Pullara said.
The 20-year-old native of Woodbridge adds that there will be a number of benefits the Winter Showcase will have for the city of Trenton and the Quinte West area as a whole.
“I think the showcase will bring a lot of excitement to the community,” Pullara said.
“The city does such a terrific job of supporting the Hawks so it's fitting that we are able to host an event like this and show the other teams around the league what our city is about. Here in Trenton we have the best fans in the league. The fans here are dedicated and show us so much support and I think it will be great for the community to be able to come out and watch some great hockey this upcoming week,” he added.
“I think it is very important, from a stand point that these are the final rosters, and the scouts get to see each team as a finished product going forward,” McDonald explained.
When asked if the organization aims to host an event of this nature again next season, McDonald gave a resounding "yes".
The OJHL Winter Showcase starts Monday afternoon January 23 at 1:00 pm as the Cobourg Cougars and Aurora Tigers coming together on Rink 2 at the Duncan McDonald Memorial Gardens. Trenton will play Monday night January 23, against the Markham Royals before facing off against the Lindsay Muskies on Wednesday January 25. Both game are at 7:30 pm.