Senior hockey is back: The Deseronto Bulldogs look forward to the season ahead

The new Eastern Ontario Senior ‘A’ Hockey League begins on Saturday Sept. 28 at the Deseronto Community Centre.

The Bulldogs face off against the Cornwall Prowlers. Game time is 6.30 p.m.

The other two teams to play in the inaugural season of the EOSHL are the West Carleton Rivermen based out of Kanata and the Maxville Millionaires.

There had been interest in other areas, including Akwesasne and Vankleek Hill, but groups in those communities weren’t able to move forward in time for season one of the EOSHL.

A group from Deseronto jumped at the opportunity to join the new league. Senior hockey folded in Eastern Ontario back in 2006 and Bulldogs owner Graeham Gemmill felt the time was right to bring it back.

“We had at least 80 players requesting a try-out,” said Gemmill, who also serves as the team’s general manager and played Junior C hockey in Amherstview and Gananoque.

“We wanted the guys who wanted to be here. We’re happy with the team we’ve chosen. There’s a huge variety of talent that stems from Junior A to Junior C. There’s also former players from the OHL and NCAA schools.”

Steve Durnan is the head coach of the Deseronto Bulldogs. His resume includes a number of successful seasons as a coach with Napanee Minor Hockey and the Amherstview Junior C Jets.

“We had a lot of guys try out, which made for some stiff competition, ” said Durnan, who looks forward to coaching this group of players.

“They’ve come together in a short period of time. Our goal is to produce a team that competes every night and represents the community with pride.

Durnan’s plan for the season is ahead is a simple one: he wants his team to work hard and play hard.

“This is going to be a very good league that produces a lot of good hockey,” he said. “I guarantee fans in Deseronto will be entertained every Saturday night.”

The team’s owner, meanwhile, can’t wait for opening face-off.

“Everyone’s excited that senior hockey is returning,” continued Gemmill.

“The community deserves this so we decided to spend a few dollars and bring it back. I have no doubt the support will be tremendous.”

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