In another pandemic-delayed season the Orillia Ice Dogs spring/summer season came to a close recently.
The season, which nomally gets underway in early May, did not get started until the end of July due to COVID restrictions.
Over the course of the shortened season, however, the positive was once teams were finally able to take the ice they competed in a regular 5-on-5 hockey. For many this was the first 5-on-5 hockey that had taken place since March of 2019.
After last season's successful conclusion to their summer program, Ice Dogs Hockey fully expected to start the 2021 season with no delays in May but that certainly was not the case. The delay was unfortunate news as they had added three additional teams at younger age groups and had a record number of player registrations.Program Director Tim McConaghy noted "following last summer everyone expected minor hockey to be back to normal and after a few months that all came to a halt again. Come spring we were prepared to get our season started on time but that was pushed back as well."
Once the teams were finally able to start up with tournament play, the Ice Dogs were ready to go. Following the late July start-up, teams would participate in five different tournaments.
In early August, the program sent a record 11 teams and 140 players to participate in CCT's King of the Rings tournament in Toronto.
At King of the Rings, the Ice Dogs were able to win titles in three divisions. Championship Rings went to the Starport Marina U18 Ice Dogs, Desjardin Insurance - Murray Hofstetter U16 Ice Dogs and the Ice Dogs U13 team.
At the CCT Champions Cup of Canada the Millwood Logistics/Tryon Construction U13 team went a perfect 5-0 to claim that title.
"We are certainly happy with what we were able to accomplish in our delayed and shortened season," said McConaghy. "We hope that our players got the most out of the tournament games, had fun and are better prepared for their upcoming minor hockey seasons."
He also gave "a huge shout out to our coaches, managers, administrators and sponsors. Without all of these individuals time and sponsors support we could not pull off such a successful program," McConaghy noted.
Ice Dogs team sponsors include: St. Louis Bar & Grill, Starport Marina, Desjardins Insurance - Murray Hofstetter, John Eplett - Remax, CanCom Sales Inc., Taylor Solutions, Millwood Logisitcs, Tryon Construction, Veritas Legal, Moonstone Mechanical, B & J Contracting, Orillia Premier Truck & Trailer and Effective Automation Systems Inc.
Although based out of Orillia, players from all minor hockey associations can participate as off-season hockey programs are not governed with border restrictions.
Ice Dogs Hockey has teams at all age levels (U8 through U18). Players interested can visit the Ice Dogs website for more details and a list of contacts.