Northern Ontario AAA Hockey League
Cambrian College - Varsity Athletics
REPerformance
Just the start of something great for Duhamel and Radford
2020-04-25

With all that Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford would accomplish over the course of their illustrious figure skating careers, it's easy to forget that the early stages of their partnership were anything but smooth sailing.

In April of 2011, the tandem were in Sudbury, taking part in the Copper Cliff Skating Club year-end gala, preparing to leave for Moscow just a week later, site of the World Figure Skating Championships. That door was opened for the future two-time world champions only by virtue of an impressive free skate performance at nationals, overcoming a fourth place finish in the short program and earning a bid to represent Canada on the international scene.

With an earth quake ravaging Japan and causing the postponement of Worlds in 2011, Duhamel and Radford were adjusting to their tweaked schedule as they made one final stop in northern Ontario, prior to heading to Russia.

"In our case, because we are such a new team, we have so much more to work on and so much more room to grow, having this extra time is probably more of a benefit than it is to some other teams," said Radford, who hails originally from Red Lake, located in the far northwestern corner of Ontario.

For her part, Duhamel, the pride of the Walden Skating Club, had contemplated retirement after a disappointing season which would see former partner Craig Buntin hang up his skates. "This last year was really tough, with the stress of the Olympics and then not making the Olympic team," she said.

"That's something that you can't really prepare yourself for. If I was going to keep skating, it was because I was having fun and enjoying it." And continue she and Radford would, topping the podium at the World Championships in the pairs event in both 2015 and 2016, and capturing bronze at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

The seven-time Canadian champions would announce their retirement from competitive skating in April of 2018.

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A veteran of more than 400 NHL games and a Stanley Cup champion with the 2014-2015 Chicago Blackhawks, Lively native Andrew Desjardins has long been recognized for his ability to beat the odds in carving out the professional hockey career that he has enjoyed.

The fact is that his knack to thrive as the underdog started well before that. In April of 2004, the product of the Rayside-Balfour Junior Sabrecats was celebrating his first full season with the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL, this despite the fact that the local prospect was a 15th round pick in the 2002 OHL draft, the third to last player selected that spring.

"I went to a mini-camp that first year and it was really tough - everyone was a step ahead," said Desjardins, who spent some time preparing for the 2003 training camp by attending the Cambrian Summer Hockey League, organized for years by long-time junior hockey scout, Doug Bonhomme. "But I was going back to camp the following year, no matter what."

"I just thought I would go all-out in camp and try to do anything to get noticed."

Desjardins would do exactly that. After spending four years and more than 250 games with the Greyhounds, the hard-working forward would propel himself through stops in Laredo (CHL), Phoenix (ECHL) and Worcester (AHL), eventually signing as a free agent with the San Jose Sharks.

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With the 2020 OHL post-season wiped out, in its entirety, by the current pandemic, Sudbury Wolves' fans will have to be content with reminiscing of playoff success of years gone by. The early years in the league, in particular, were kind to the new entry, as the local juniors eliminated the rival Soo Greyhounds in the Leyden Division semi-final in April of 1976.

With a capacity crowd of 6,666 on hand at the Sudbury Arena, the Wolves stopped the Hounds 5-2 in the deciding game, as Wes Jarvis led the way for the locals with a two-goal performance. Sudbury also received goals from Randy Pierce, Randy Carlyle and Ron Duguay, while goaltender Jim Bedard was at his best, once again.

"The only unfortunate part is that the two northern clubs met so early," suggested Sault Ste Marie GM Angelo Bumbacco. "We lost to a better club. They got great goaltending."

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Just barely missing out on cracking the Division I grouping for OVA (Ontario Volleyball Association) 2011 provincials, but slotted right near the top of the Division II entries, the Northern Chill U18 girls emerged from Ontario championships with bronze medals in hand, with the team looking particularly impressive with six straight victories over the opening two days.

The Chill remained on a roll with a 20-25, 25-15, 15-11 victory over the Toronto Element in quarter-final play, but needed to overcome a tough three set semi-final loss to the Aurora Storm Cyclones (22-25, 25-20, 7-15), emerging with some hardware after slipping past the North Simcoe Wolves, 25-22, 15-25, 15-13.

"Had I not had the opportunity to coach this group this year, I would have really missed out on a great experience," said Chill head coach Michael Margarit. "They are honestly one of the hardest working groups that I've ever had - and they're also a lot of fun."

The 2010-2011 Northern Chill U18 girls team featured Emily Redwood, Paige O'Grady, Christel Pilon, Courtney Stasiuk, Nicole Collard, Heather Lockwood, Jennifer Redwood and Stephanie Fontaine.

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As has so often been the case over the years, volleyball was in the spotlight as Cambrian College honoured their varsity athletes at the 25th annual athletic banquet. Men's volleyball star Brad Boudreau captured the Male Athlete of the Year award for a second straight season, while female counterpart Josee Bonin managed the feat on the ladies side. The 1992 banquet was dedicated to the memory of long-time curling coach and Cambrian instructor Vern Dow, who passed away on March 7th, 1991.

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