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Ice Dogs overcome COVID challenges, sizzle on ice (6 photos)

'Interest was high as I think kids just wanted to get back out and get active,' says program director; Six teams, 80 kids, competed in various age groups

Ice Dogs Hockey concludes successful Summer Season

While most organized youth sports had been put on hold due to COVID-19, the Orillia Ice Dogs hockey program returned to the ice in early August under modified rules.  

Over the following eight weeks its teams competed in a series of weekend tournaments that concluded in late September.  

The Ice Dogs fielded teams for U11, U12, U13, U14, U15 and U16 age groups competing in events throughout the GTA and in Nottawasaga.

Program Director, Tim McConaghy felt the modified program was a great success.

"We lost our spring season due to COVID, but as restrictions started to loosen, we were able to return to the ice in early August,” said McConaghy. “Interest was high as I think kids just wanted to get back out and get active.  

“Overall we had over 80 kids participate, some playing as many as 25 games."

Under the new guidelines for return to play, limitations were made reducing roster sizes to nine players/team and creating bubbles of four teams per division.  All play was non-contact, 4-on-4 hockey with two 20-minute periods. 

McConaghy noted "the game was extremely fast paced, with lots of open ice.  The kids got a lot of puck time and very good workout to say the least.  I think tournament organizers did a fantastic job of getting the kids back on the ice, while following health protocols at the same time.”

Brian Worsley, coach of the U16 team, agreed. 

"It was certainly a different brand of hockey.  The open ice created lots of scoring chances and the goalies faced a lot of shots,” said Worsley. “Certainly fun and competitive hockey for all involved."

As an organization, the Ice Dogs compiled an impressive 73-29-7 record, over 109 games, winning 12 championships in the 22 tournament entries.  

"We have a pool of some very exceptional players to draw from in the area... many of these kids took part in our program and we were able to compete with all the top teams and players throughout the GTA and Southern Ontario," said McConaghy.

Here are some individual team highlights from the season...

U11 - Moonstone Mechanical (2010) Ice Dogs. First season for this team. Put together a tidy 12-2 record, capturing two championships in the team’s three tournament entries.

U12 - Millwood Logistics/Tryon Construction (2009) Ice Dogs. Participated in a total of six events, capturing two championships. Over 29 games they compiled a 20-7-2 record.

U13 - Veritas Legal (2008) Ice Dogs. Competed in four events, compiling a 10-6-2 record.  Captured two events including the season ending AA tournament in Brampton.

U14 - Taylor Solutions (2007) Ice Dogs. Played in 19 games over four tournaments going 11-8-0.  Captured two CCT events - King of the Rings and Season Start-up in Toronto.

U15 - Desjardins Insurance - Murray Hoffstetter (2006) Ice Dogs. First season for this group. Played in three events, 13 games (12-1-0). Won all three tournaments they competed in, including playing up an age group and winning the CCT Summer Send-off U16 AA event.

U16 - John Eplett/Remax (2005) Ice Dogs. Competed in three tournaments putting together a record of 8-4-3. Won the CCT Summer Send-off tournament in Toronto.

The Orillia Ice Dogs look to return to the ice in April 2021 to continue to build on its success and grow the program further.  For information visit their new website.