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Paul Lefebvre - MP for Sudbury
Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2019
Stories of varsity sports surviving the test of time
by Randy Pascal

In the early years of the OCAA (Ontario Colleges Athletic Association), long before the advent of the internet, statistical record keeping relied on a much more simplistic approach, one which, unfortunately, rarely survived the test of time very well.

In that sense, attempting to google Cambrian College varsity athletic stories that date back to the 1970's or so can often be a lesson in frustration. The best results are often found simply by scouring back through microfilms of the Sudbury Star sports sections of that era.

Looking to do a quick retrospective going back anywhere from ten years to four decades ago, it became quickly apparent that the place to start was the late 1980's. Returning one full decade before that yielded a time when precious little coverage was provided to the family of Golden Shield teams.

Thankfully, that was not the case as we visited the year in which George H.W. Bush defeated Michael Dukakis for the American presidency, and films such as Rainman, Die Hard, Beetlejuice and A Fish Called Wanda were making their first appearance on screen.

It was also a time when the 1988-1989 season was shaping up as a rebuilding one in the eyes of Cambrian Golden Shield women's volleyball coach Laura Aubertin. "Basically, I've got high school kids playing at a high school level in college," she said.

With the late withdrawal from school of Victoria Allaire, the leadership role would fall almost completely on the shoulders of Cambrian Female Athlete of the Year, Lori Kavanagh. The team was bolstered by the addition of the likes of Gloria Barber, Simone Dubois, Rachelle Anderston, Roxanne Bedard, Francine McLean and France McLean, all of whom matched-up pretty well from a physical standpoint with their OCAA opponents.

That, however, was not the area with which Aubertin was concerned. "Mentally, they're going to take a beating, but they're going to learn from it," she noted.

Meanwhile, there was clearly no such lack of confidence heading into the 1988-1989 OCAA Division II hockey season for the Cambrian crew. "This team will be tough to score on," noted head coach Tom Faganely. "We not only have a talented and strong defence, but solid goaltending as well. Not only do we have a lot of size, but more muscle as well."

A key returning core of Terry McDonald, Jamie Ashe, Eric Ace and Rick McDaniels would welcome NOJHL graduates and local products Morris Kennelly, Mike Lauzon and Marcel Tellier.

Cambrian's biggest upgrade, however, came between the pipes, as St Charles College graduate and former OHL netminder Brian Tessier (Toronto Marlboros) returned to his hometown.

That pick-up would help offset the loss of 1987-88 leading scorer Andy Cluett, though Faganely would be well served with a few more contributing bodies. "I have a lot of good hockey players, but I don't have enough to have a full lineup," he said. “I hope to get some more as the season goes on."

Cambrian joined the Sault College Cougars in a grouping that also featured the Northern Miners (Haileybury), Kemptville X-Cats, Loyalist Lancers (Belleville) and St Lawrence Schooners (Brockville).

The Shield wasted little time in showcasing the peak of its potential dominance, thumping the Sault 14-1. Mike Foster (4G - 3A) and Marcel Fournel (3G - 2A) paced the attack, with Ted Marcotte (2), Bill Keeling, Eric Ace, Morris Kennelly, Jamie Ashe and Marcel Tellier all joining in on the fun.

The Cambrian men's basketball crew was also off to a hot start, despite being saddled with their first loss of the year. The Golden Shield dropped an 83-79 decision to the Sir Sanford Fleming Knights of Peterborough, falling to 4-1 on the season, but rebounded nicely the very next evening.

In an equally close tilt, the homeside edged the Algonquin Caats of Nepean, 73-71, as Brian Bird showed the way offensively with 21 points. Guy Fillion was close behind with 20, while Gilles Philion and Mike Huard also hit double digits, scoring 17 and 11 points respectively.

"The loss to Fleming was a shock to the players, but not to Vito (Pasquale - assitant coach) and I," said Cambrian bench boss Mike Mulvihill. "It wasn't a good week of practice for us. We learned that you just can't show up for a game and expect to win."

Fast forward ten years and it's the men's volleyball team starting off the 1998-99 season on the right foot, even if it took a while to claim victory. The Shield opened the match with a 15-8 triumph over the Mohawk Mountaineers, but dropped sets two and three by scores of 9-15, 12-15.

Thankfully, the locals regrouped to win out, 15-10, 15-12. "It was great to post the win, especially after losing to Mohawk at the Durham Tournament", stated Cambrian head coach James Schweyer. "We started the match well, but lost our focus in games two and three with too many unforced errors. Our serving was brutal."

"But in the fourth and fifth games, we rallied behind the efforts of Chris Duguay and Richard Lessard, and also had strong finishes by Richard Faucher and Kyle Kivilahti. Our setting (Russ Cornthwaite) also improved in the late games."

The Cambrian men's basketball team struggled at the St Clair Coillege Tip-Off Tournament, returning home following a winless weekend. The locals kept it close in game one, trailing the George Brown Huskies 37-35 at the half, before falling off and losing 63-48 in the end.

"Our second half killed us," said coach Bill Gordon. "We struggled. Part of it is conditioning, but we also have to continue working on fundamentals. We're still trying to find our identity as a team. Even though we have six guys back, we did add six new faces and we have to learn to fit them in."

Saturday results were not a lot better, as the St Clair Saints bounced Cambrian 65-50 and Rochester College from Detroit followed suit, defeating the northern Ontario crew, 72-48.

Participating in the Sheridan College Bruin Bash the very next weekend, the Cambrian men again failed to hit the win column (0-2), though the offense was starting to pick it up. Captain Jason Jakola would put together games with 24 and 10 points, with Clint Knott (13-19) and John Dawson (10-17) right in the middle of things also.

The Cambrian men's hockey team spoiled the home opener of the Humber Hawks, jumping out to a 3-0 first period lead and coasting to a 9-4 win as Martin Birch netted the hat trick for the winners.

Remaining markers came from Darryl Shedden, with a pair, Chris Campbell, Dylan Seca, Trevor Meyer and Aaron Hueston. "It was a real rock 'em sock 'em kind of game," noted Cambrian head coach Peter Michelutti Sr of the contest that featured four fights and 81 minutes in penalties.

"They have a big tough team, and our guys don't back down from anybody.”

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