Chatham-Kent’s Top 10 Sports Stories of 2015

Chad Peterson - Kraft Hockeyville

Chad Peterson, the Chatham Maroons’ “Superfan,” stands in front of his Hockeyville adorned vehicle, and Chatham’s Memorial Arena, the facility that received $100,000 in upgrades thanks to Peterson’s efforts – Photo by Ian Kennedy/

2015 is almost in the books, so we thought this would be a great opportunity to count down the stories, storylines, and people who were our top news makers, and most read stories of the year.

Here are CKSN’s Top 10 Sports Stories of 2015:

10. Gothca Again: We thought last year after the “Mitchell’s Bay Mariners” were announced, and Mayor Randy Hope officially, and publicly, welcomed the organization to the Great Lakes Junior C hockey loop, that our readers would check the date before falling for an April Fools article again. Turns out we were wrong. We announced that the OHL had changed their mind, and Flint would be coming to Chatham. Maybe it was too soon for this little joke, as we received a threat from a Municipal employee to permanently ban CKSN from all Chatham-Kent arenas. We knew it wasn’t possible, but it still hurt our feelings. So here’s early warning, April Fools is April 1 every…single…year….and we will…I repeat…we will, write a fake article again this year.

9. Lakers Can’t Snap Out Of Funk: It was a painful story, one many thought would turn around as the 2014-2015 season ended. The Wallaceburg Lakers hired a new coach, and brought in new players, but it was the same result, as the Lakers started, and remained painfully at the bottom of the Great Lakes Junior C Hockey League in 2015-2016. It’s definitely one of our New Year’s wishes to see this historic franchise return to glory in 2016.

8. Durston Rises To Every Occassion: Wallaceburg’s Jordan Durston couldn’t have done more in 2015 if he tried. Durston won an Ontario title, and Minto Cup, Canada’s Junior A championship, playing with the Six Nations Arrows. Scoring over 120 points in less than 40 lacrosse games this year, Durston caught the eye of professional scouts, being selected 19th overall by the Vancouver Stealth in the 2015 NLL draft. He then signed with the team, and cracked Vancouver’s opening night roster.

7. King Konecny – Clachan’s Travis Konecny had a year to remember. In fact, he was pretty much the King of our sports site. If captaining the OHL’s Ottawa 67s wasn’t enough, Konecny leapt into the spotlight when he was selected in the first round, 24th overall by the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. To finish 2015, Konecny cracked Canada’s National Junior Team roster.

6. Oh Canada: Chatham-Kent saw a plethora of athletes wear the Maple Leaf this season representing Canada including Bridget Carleton, Breanne Nicholas, Julia Corrente, Luke Van Rycheghem, Derek Whitson, Ashley Goure, Laura Gillett, Hokey Langan, and Mallory Johnston. Many won medals, but more importantly, plastered the headlines with positive stories, and proud representation of their community and country.

5. New Organizations: Chatham Cricket Club, the Wallaceburg Thrashers, and Maple City Cage Fighting all launched in Chatham-Kent in 2015. Growth of sports such as cricket, lacrosse, and MMA in Chatham-Kent is crucial to the continued health of citizens, and diversification of Chatham-Kent’s sports community.

4. House League Hockey Incident: This was one of CKSN’s hottest stories in 2015. After a youth hockey upset opposing coaches and parents by scoring too many goals, verbal and physical altercations broke out in a Chatham arena. Suspensions were handed out, but more importantly, awareness that this type of behaviour is not welcomed, and will have accountability attached, was raised.

3. Losing Our Legends: George Aitken and Herb Wakabayashi passed away in 2015. A pair of legendary hockey players in Chatham, and Hall of Famers, Aitken and Wakabayashi left behind a legacy, and were even better people, than they were athletes.

2. Kraft Hockeyville: This was a good news story for Chatham. Memorial Arena was the target of a campaign spearheaded by local resident Chad Peterson. Peterson successfully guided Chatham, with bundles of community support, into the Top 10, and then into the Final Two, where Memorial Arena was awarded a $100,000 upgrade, and narrowly missed out on an NHL preseason game.

1. OHL Bid Fails
: 2015 opened hopeful. Chatham had been named as the ideal location for the OHL Plymouth Whalers‘ relocation. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. After weeks of talks, and weeks of courting, Chatham lost out to Flint, Michigan. Ownership stated there were too many road blocks in Chatham, siting administration, and Chatham’s lack of a plan for a suitable arena.

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