Thamesville A Surprising Hockey Hotbed

Dane Fox of the Erie Otters - Photo Terry Wilson/OHL Images

Dane Fox of the Erie Otters – Photo Terry Wilson/OHL Images

For a town with no arena, which is better known for the annual Threshing Festival than sports, Thamesville has a suprising number of quality hockey players developing in the town limits.

Without a Minor Hockey system of their own, most Thamesville residents travel to Dresden for their minor hockey, or potentially, with the Chatham-Kent Cyclones ‘AAA’ organization.

Most notably, current OHL player Dane Fox is a Thamesville product. Fox grew up playing ‘AAA’ hockey with the Chatham-Kent Cyclones, before being drafted by the London Knights, and playing a partial season of Junior B hockey with the Strathroy Rockets. From there, Fox went on to play for the Knights, before being dealt to Erie, where he has since been one of the team’s go to scorers.

Fox’s efforts earned him an invitation to the NHL/CHL Top Prospects game. Although he went undrafted, Fox attended the St. Louis Blues prospects camp this year and remains on the radar of many professional clubs. Fox scored a point per game last season in the OHL.

Dane’s brother Trent Fox was a draft choice this past summer of the Erie Otters as well. Fox played the majority of his Minor Hockey career with the Chatham-Kent Cyclones, before moving to the London Jr. Knights in his draft year. This season, Trent Fox is playing for the Ridley College Tigers, a private school in St. Catherines, Ontario.

Another Thamesville resident, Dillon Liberty is entering his second season with the Lambton Shores Predators Junior B team, in the GOJHL. Liberty played minor hockey for the Chatham-Kent Cyclones, and also split a season between the Lambton Jr. Sting ‘AAA’ team and the Dresden Jr. Kings before signing with Lambton Shores. Last season, Liberty scored 3 goals and added 10 assists.

Chatham Maroons star Brayden Hopkins, who was the team’s top rookie last season, is another Thamesville product, although the Owen Sound Attack draft pick spent most of his Minor hockey career playing far from home.

As a major minor hockey location for Thamesville residents, Dresden has also served as a logical next step into Junior hockey for many Thamesville hockey players. This year, the Kings feature two Thamesville products, Taylor Sisson and Jeff Vanrabaeys.

Vanrabaeys the Kings captain, is entering his fifth season with the Kings. A stalwart on the blueline, Vanrabaeys will eclipse 200 career Junior games, playoffs and regular season this year.

Sisson is entering his third year with the Dresden Kings, and is now a key offensive contributor after scoring 12 goals and 17 assists for the Kings in 33 games last year.

At the minor level, Thamesville is well represented in the Dresden Minor Hockey programs, and also has three players competing at the AAA level with the Chatham-Kent Cyclones, in CJ Burgess (Minor Bantam), Ethan Gervais (Major Atom), Tre Altiman (Minor Atom).

For a small community in Chatham-Kent, Thamesville continues to pump out quality hockey players, and this season is no exception.

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