Elks pay tribute to veteran forward

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‘Unfortunately, this is my last game in junior hockey,’ says Matt Canning

A fitting ceremony took place at the Don Henderson Memorial Sportsplex in Brookfield Tuesday night.

Charles Bowers, right, an assistant coach with Brookfield Elks, makes a presentation to veteran forward Matt Canning. Submitted photo

Just before the opening faceoff of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League game between Brookfield Elks and East Hants Penguins, the Elks paid tribute to veteran left-winger Matt Canning.

“This is Matt Canning’s final game of his junior hockey career,” Elks general manager Joel Dawe announced over the public address system. “We appreciate having Matt play with the Elks this season. His leadership qualities and what he brought to the team were outstanding.”

Dawe said Canning would be honoured further during the junior B club’s closing banquet. On behalf of the team, Elks assistant coach Charles Bowers presented the hockey player with a gift as the fans on the sidelines voiced their approval.

“Unfortunately, this is my last game in junior hockey,” Canning, 21, of Eastern Passage, said. “I found Brookfield a nice tight-knit group of guys to play my final season with. We may have had a tough season and a number of close losses but these guys really stood up for each other. No one quit right to the end. I enjoyed playing for Hughie Matheson. Hughie is a good coach and a real nice guy.”

Falling 8-1 to the Penguins on Tuesday night, the Elks (5-24-2-3) finished sixth in the Fred Fox Division and will miss the league playoffs.

Canning, meanwhile, put up good numbers and lead his team in scoring with 18 goals and 21 assists for 39 points.

“In the off season I learned I might be traded by Eastern Shore Mariners to either East Hants or Brookfield,” Canning said. “I asked which team was the most interested? I was told Brookfield would be excited to have me. Right away, Brookfield is where I wanted to play. The morale and spirit in the dressing room with my new teammates was remarkable. We never let our record get us down.”

Born in Grand Falls, Nfld., Canning is in his third year studying criminology at Saint Mary’s University. He also works at Pardy’s Waste Management in Burnside Industrial Park.

Following a good 2008-09 season playing AAA midget hockey with Central Ice Pack in Newfoundland, Canning played a year for Ontario Hockey Academy, a prep school in the Ottawa area.

Enrolling at Saint Mary’s in 2010, Canning played a few games of junior B hockey with Sackville Blazers and was then out of hockey for about a year.

“I played 12 games for Eastern Shore Mariners in 2011-12,” Canning said. “Then last year I played the whole season with the Mariners. Looking to the future, I’d still like to find a way to play more hockey.”

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Denise Sondjo (formerly Caughey), originally from Truro and now a resident of Quebec City, officiated as a lineswoman in two women’s hockey games earlier this week at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The following was received by email from Sondjo:

“Things are going well here at the Winter Olympics. I have officiated two games to date, United States against Switzerland and Russia verses Japan. I think they went well. I will find out later in the week if I’ll be assigned more games.

“I’ve had some great Olympic moments. What an experience! I’d like to thank everyone back home for all the support.”

Sondjo’s brother, Adam Caughey, of Stewiacke, and her husband, Jean-Michel Sondjo, are both attending the Sochi Winter Olympics as spectators.

Lyle Carter’s sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League, Penguins, Fred Fox Division Waste Management Ontario Hockey Academy Mariners Caughey Truro Daily News

Geographic location: Eastern Passage, Saint Mary, Hants Sochi Russia Grand Falls Burnside Industrial Park Newfoundland Ottawa Truro Quebec City United States Switzerland Japan Stewiacke

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