Eastern Ontario Fastball Blog

A blog dedicated to news about the Greater Ottawa Fastball League and other happenings in the world of fastball / fastpitch softball in eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with occasional stories featuring Mrs Fitzroy Fastball, Fitzroy Fastball Junior and the Caveman. If you have info to send on, send me an email at fastball[at]fitzroyharbour.com. Follow @fitzroyfastball on Twitter.

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Jim Bradford Classic 2011

from Steve Bedard

Jim Bradford Classic men's fastpitch tourney will be held June 10-12, 2011 in Grafton, ON. Entry fee is $450.

For information contact Steve Bedard at 905-885-0821 or sjbgolf@hotmail.com


Kanata Pirates Competitive Tryouts

The Kanata Pirates Novice (born 1997 – 98) and Bantam (born 1995 - 96) Girls Softball-Fastpitch Teams are both competitive (Tier II) fastpitch teams registered with the Kanata Minor Softball Association (KMSA) and playing against other competitive teams within our region and beyond. The 2010 Novice Kanata Pirates are the reigning Select level provincial champions, and are moving up to the Tier II level this year.

Our goal, as always, is to provide the girls with a safe, fun environment to continue the development of their softball skills, while instilling in them the dedication and hard work required of a competitive athlete and playing as part of a team. In addition to playing locally, the teams are planning to participate in several tournaments in the Greater Toronto Area and will be travelling to the Provincial Championship tournament in August.

Tryouts for the 2011 season will begin in mid February (tentatively Feb. 13, 21 and 27) and we encourage players from the Ottawa Region who are interested in joining the Pirates to contact us asap. For further information please contact Bryan Tisch (Novice Pirates) at 613-271-0115 or at btisch@nrcan.gc.ca or Andy Brothers (Bantam Pirates) at 613-270-9693 or at andybrothers@sympatico.ca.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

GOFL Winter Meeting

The Greater Ottawa Fastball League winter meeting will be held Monday January 31 at 7pm at a top secret location. The seven confirmed returning teams and the umpires will discuss league issues going forward in 2011.

If there any other teams interested in learning more about possibly joining the GOFL, please contact fastball[at]fitzroyharbour.com or any other captain in the GOFL to attend.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We be tweetin'

Don't forget to follow me on 'The Twitter' where some additional Fitzroy Fastball words of wisdom are occasionally posted.


Woodstock Victoria Weekend Fastball Tourney

from Darryl Wharram

Ingersoll Crush Men's Fastball team we again be hosting the Annual Woodstock Victoria Weekend Fastball Tournament for 2011

This tournament runs
May 21st, 22nd, 23rd

We are looking for 16 teams this year

Tournament Format is yet to be determined. Will be based on the final number of teams.

We have several teams interested at this point, but would like to get the Tournament field secured as soon as possible.

There will again be a licensed beer garden, with food.
There is a Midway with rides for the kids of all ages.
Victoria Day Parade on the Monday Morning.

We are also negotiating a discount right now with local hotels etc. for any teams travelling from any amount of distance.

Contact liftsystems[at]on.aibn.com


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Softball Canada Dev Team loses in finals at AAU

Looks like the Softball Canada development team which included Joran Graham lost in the finals to Chi/NY at the AAU tournament.

Elmira, on which Joe McCleary and Matt Greer were playing finished in the top 8 of the forty team tourney.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

AAU tournament coverage

Some fireworks at the AAU Tournament today. Check out the Jim Flanagan's Fastpitch West site for lots of great updates.


Quyon COMBAT Flyers to enter major tournaments in 2011

Team Manager Kenny "Big Papi" Fleck has informed the blog that the Quyon COMBAT Flyers will be entering at least two high-level fastball tournaments in the 2011 season.

Quyon will be at the "Legends" tournament in Kitchener-Waterloo on the June 24-26 weekend. This tournament features the New Zealand Black Sox national team this year and competition at this event is always very strong.

The Combat Flyers will also compete at the Tavistock tournament, another top flight event, that will feature clubs such as defending ISC Champions Jarvis Travellers, Chi/NY Dominicans and the New York Gremlins. This tournament will be on the July 15-17 weekend.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fitzroy Junior signs sponsorship deal

FITZROY HARBOUR, ON - Fitzroy Fastball Junior is pleased to announce a new exclusive sponsorship agreement with Combat Sports Group.

Based on outstanding goal scoring success, Combat Sports Group has offered an exclusive stick usage deal with Fitzroy Junior. Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but Fitzroy Fastball Junior will now be using the Combat Ballistik 12 Cal stick, manufactured by Combat Sports Group in NHL (Novice Hockey League) games.

"Daddy, it's 100% compost!", said Fitzroy Fastball Junior upon delivery of his new stick.

Also included in the agreement is a stick sponsorship deal for the T-ball Caveman. While the Caveman still competes in the minors, he will also be using the Combat Ballistik 12 Cal stick and anticipates a long term relationship with Combat.

When asked for comment, he remarked "Daddy, my stick says The Caveman on it, Daddy!"

For more information on Combat Sports Group visit their website at http://www.combatsportsgroup.com.


Thanks Joe the lads love them!

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AAU Tournament in Florida this week

The annual AAU Men's fastball tournament is scheduled for January 20-23 in Orlando, Florida, featuring teams from across Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Forty teams will compete in on the best tournaments in the world as top players make the Southern tour "by the pool in FLA".

Some local players participating include Joran Graham (Softball Canada Developmental Team), Dan Loney (Millwood Countrymen), and Joe McCleary & Matt Greer (Elmira Expos).

UPDATE: The "Florida Fastpitch" roster also show some other local players including Joel Langford, Cory Alkerton, Matt Alkerton, Jason Smith, Trevor Power and Steve Edgerton.

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Fitzroy Fastball Christmas Survey - results

I'm driving down the Queensway on the way to work last week. Traffic is slow (no surprise), and I see an interesting vehicle in the next lane just up ahead. He's driving a crappy station wagon and towing a boat (somewhat surprising in December).

I get a bit closer and realize that he has a Christmas tree stowed in the 14 ft aluminum. So of course I'm thinking this would be the perfect blog survey for Christmas.

UPDATE: Final results are in on the poll, total of 49 votes:

Quyon resident on tour: 46.94%
Redneck Christmas shopping: 26.53%
Resourceful guy using available equipment at hand: 26.53%


Monday, January 17, 2011

Softball Canada Men's Development Team gets ready for AAU Tournament

from Softball Canada

The 2011 Softball Canada Men's Development arrived in Kissimmee, Florida this past weekend for a few days of team preparations prior to competing at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) International Men's Fast Pitch tournament. The event will begin on Thursday, January 20th and will conclude on Sunday, January 23rd at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

Softball Canada is pleased to announce that Ballpark Radio (www.BallparkRadio.com) will have a live internet audio broadcast of at least a pair of its games, including the preliminary round game between the Softball Canada Development Team vs. Maccabi USA at 11:00am EST on Friday, January 21st. The Softball Canada Development Team's first playoff game on Saturday, January 22nd (time to be determined) will also be broadcasted live by Ballpark Radio. In addition, one of the Semi-Final games and the Championship game will both air live on Sunday, January 23rd.

The athletes who will represent Softball Canada as members of the Men's Developmental Team at the event are:

1. Tyson Barkman (Abbotsford, BC)
2. Ryan Boland (St. John's, NL)
3. Trevor Boutilier (Halifax, NS)
4. Brad Ezekiel (Harbour Main, NL)
5. Ian Fehrman (Townsend, ON)
6. Calem Gardner (Squamish, BC)
7. Joran Graham (Micksburg, ON)
8. Jason Hill (St. John's, NL)
9. Rowan Lam (Glencoe, ON)
10. Derek Mayson (North Vancouver, BC)
11. Brennan Pokoyoway (Saskatoon, SK)
12. Mathieu Roy (Saint-Gervais, QC)
13. Andy Skelton (Scarborough, ON)
14. Jeremy Tracy (Waterville, NB)
15. Ryan Wolfe (Melbourne, ON)

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Don Bates (Saskatoon, SK)
Assistant Coach: Les Howey (Saskatoon, SK)
Assistant Coach: John Stuart (Vancouver, BC)
Athletic Therapist: Adam Davies (Ottawa, ON)

Ian Fehrman, Derek Mayson, and Ryan Wolfe are veterans of the Men's National Team program, and helped Canada win the Bronze medal at the 2009 ISF Men's World Championship in Saskatoon, SK. In addition, Tyson Barkman and Mathieu Roy are former Junior Men's National Team members, each earning a Bronze medal at the 2005 ISF Junior Men's World Championship in Summerside, PEI. Joran Graham was a member of the Junior Men's National Team that won a Silver medal at the 2008 ISF Junior Men's World Championship in Whitehorse, YK.

'This Developmental Team roster features five 23 year olds, one 22 year old, and one 21 year old, so we are taking a young team to expose them to our program and a high level of play' said Don Bates, Men's National Team Head Coach. 'Men's National Team captain Ryan Wolfe, along with other experienced National Team players Ian Fehrman and Derek Mayson, will provide some veteran leadership to the team.'

AAU Tournament - Canadian Development Team Schedule
January 20: Canada vs. Lanzeros (Venezuela) - 3:00pm EST
January 21: Canada vs. Maccabi (USA) - 11:00am EST - Live on Ballpark Radio
January 21: Canada vs. Ohio Battery - 3:00pm EST
January 22: Playoff Round (Time TBD - Live on Ballpark Radio)
January 23: Playoff Round

Visit www.softball.ca
for game reports following each Softball Canada Development Team game.

For more information, please contact:

Gilles LeBlanc
Manager - Marketing and Communications
Softball Canada
(613) 523-3386 ext. 3105


North Gower Marlboroughs not returning for 2011

Team representative Anil Hayne has advised that the North Gower Marlboroughs will not be participating in the Greater Ottawa Fastball League in 2011.

The GOFL winter meeting will be held in the near future. Any teams interested in becoming part of the GOFL are asked to contact fastball[at]fitzroyharbour.com or any other GOFL team captain to express their interest in joining.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

The drought is over

At long last, after 55 Novice B games over a season and a half, it finally happened.

Saturday afternoon, at the Goulbourn Recreation Centre, the West Carleton Novice B team defeated the Stittsville Rams 5-1 and the second (and game winning goal) was scored by Fitzroy Fastball Junior, followed up by a pretty spectacular goal celebration.

Junior will now entertain sponsorship deals - anyone know somebody that makes hockey sticks and is looking for a high profile scorer to endorse them? Contract offers can be emailed to fastball[at]fitzroyharbour.com


Get In The Game Symposium

from Softball Ontario

Softball Ontario is proud to announce the fifth annual Get In The Game Symposium on Saturday February 26, 2011 at the Sport Alliance Building in Toronto. The Symposium is a great opportunity for Softball Associations across Ontario to come together and work towards improving softball in Ontario.

The 2011 Symposium will feature many valuable sessions, including Softball Association Fundamental Excellence (SAFE) Star Sessions to help you complete your application; a discussion on Online Registration; a Learn to Play Panel Discussion and much more!

Travel (mileage) and accommodations will be provided by Softball Ontario for those who qualify. Participants in the Symposium must register with Lisa Crompton at Softball Ontario by February 11, 2011.

The Get In The Game Symposium is a great opportunity for Softball Associations to learn from each other and work together to improve our game throughout the province.

Date: Saturday February 26, 2011
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Registration and Breakfast begins at 8:00 AM)
Location: Sport Alliance Building, 3 Concorde Gate, Toronto, ON
Cost: FREE

Attending the Get In The Game Symposium can earn your Softball Association up to 20 points towards your Softball Association Fundamental Excellence (SAFE) Star Rating!

If you would like to register for the Get In The Game Symposium or you have any questions, contact Lisa Crompton via telephone at (416) 426-7150 or via email at lcrompton@softballontario.ca. Let’s make Softball better together!

Softball Ontario is the governing body for the sport of softball in Ontario. Our goal is to promote and develop the sport of softball for its athletes, officials and volunteers by providing programs and services at all levels of competitions.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario. Their mission is to build healthy and vibrant communities throughout Ontario by strengthening the capacity of the voluntary sector, through investments in community-based initiatives.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

GOFL Player Interview - Kyle Jamieson

Next up on for a GOFL Interview is Kyle Jamieson. Not too many people get to make a living out of fastball, but KJ is, coaching the Arkansas Razorback women's team in the NCAA. Kyle has had some great fastball experiences and agreed to take some time to share them in the interview below.

Q: Where did you play your minor and junior softball?

I always played in Stittsville until Midget ball, and then in midget and junior, I played in Stittsville, St. Catharines, Kemptville, and Oshawa. Three silver medals in Canadian Championships with Stittsville, St. Catharines and Oshawa. Never got the big one there.

Q: Who is the Coach or teammate that has had the biggest impact on your softball career?

Biggest coach is easily my Dad, he coached me all my life until I was 17. He put a lot of hours in the backyard and up at the diamond with me. I still to this day in my career use a lot of the drills he used to make us do when we were in minor ball. Biggest teammate, that’s a hard one, played with so many great players and great friends over the years. But I would say Randy Peck had a big impact on me. We got to know each other when I was about 17, and he kind of took me under his wing, and brought me along to some of the Senior teams he played with back then, Stittsville had a senior team, and then I got to play with Heflin Builders quite a bit when he was playing with them as well. He just studies the game, loves the game, and has a lot of fun while at the ballpark. I think when I coach now I act like him when he was at practice. Sometimes serious, and sometimes goofy. A good balance!

Q: As someone who has played in New Zealand, Europe and across North America, what is your most memorable moment in fastball?

Well there is a lot of great and fun moments, but winning the gold medal in New Zealand with Canada’s jr team was pretty awesome and probably the most special.

Living in Denmark for 10 months with Greg MacMillan where we were playing, coaching and developing the sport over there was another great experience.

Also the Ontario championships in Midget used to be like 45 teams. And it was pretty special to win that title with my hometown Stittsville.

Q: What was it like playing and coaching fastball in Denmark? Is fastball “big” in Denmark?

As mentioned earlier it was an awesome experience. Greg and I played on a club team but also coached the National Team. We got to see a lot of Europe, places like Sweden, Belgium, Amsterdam. Who knew they played fastball there right? The level of play was surprisingly pretty good. They have some really good pitchers over there, and since Greg and I were there, in 2001 (hard to believe 10 years), Denmark has played in the ISC World Tournament a few times. They really do love their ball, and they don’t play as many games as we would over here, but they train all the time. The team Greg and I were on was called the Ballerup Vandals, and we won the Danish Cup that year, in a close 3 game series. Won the third game in extra innings. I wouldn’t say fastball in Denmark is big, but they are working hard on developing players, and they are probably in a better situation than us in Canada with young kids playing the game. One of the top hitters in ICS now, Freddy Terkelsen, was 13 when we were there. He just won a ISC title with Jarvis.

Q: Where is the best tournament you have ever played in?

Again so many good ones, and so many ball parks, but hardest competition was Perth Shoot out, big crowds and always a great event. I didn’t get to play much, but the few times I did, I got a chance to face some tough teams and hitters.

My favorite tournament though would be Campbell’s Bay Bash. Loved that tourney. So many laughs and great memories. Some big battles with Chevy’s team against Micksburg every year, with Konkle and Costello going at it. They need to bring that tourney back.

Q: Who is the toughest hitter you have ever faced in fastball?

I remember back in like 1994 at North American Fastball Challenge I pitched against All Car Greenbay. Their 2, 3, 4, 5 batters were Sean Rychick, Mark Sorenson, Colin Abbot, Brad Underwood. Pick one of them.

But locally Greg Macmillan was always tough, and if he wanted to keep playing good ball, back in the day, he would have been a great hitter.

Q: You have made a career out of softball and have coached NCAA women’s softball in Syracuse, Bowling Green and are now an assistant for Arkansas Razorbacks. Tell us a bit about your experience coaching at this level.

Who knew you could make a career in coaching women’s softball? Right? But honestly it is an amazing job. In nine years I went from a tiny school at Bowling Green, to a bigger school at Syracuse to now I’m coaching in the SEC Conference, which is one of the biggest and toughest softball conferences in NCAA. So it’s been a steady progression and now that I have my green card (work visa), I hope to become a Head Coach when the right situation comes about.

Softball in the states for girls is huge! I wish many of you could see the level of play at the highest level, and the facilities we get to play in. A lot of our games are on ESPN, and it is covered pretty well here. The budgets are enormous, we fly all over the place, stay in nice hotels and eat at good restaurants.

Coaching softball at this level is awesome, almost every day, I’m out on a ball field, playing catch, hitting fly balls, and messing around on a ball field.

Coaching at this level though there is a lot of pressure. Now that softball has become bigger, and the schools are building multi-million dollar stadiums, they want to win. It’s really changed in last ten years. It used to be, if your girls graduate, stay out of trouble and are semi-competitive you were safe, now it’s like the big leagues, win or you're gone.

Q: What do you find is the biggest difference between the men’s game and women’s game?

1. The amount of pints that are drank after the game would be the first big difference. Haha. The socializing and fun we have after a game or on the road is a lot different. With the girls, after the game, they usually go eat, throw the ipod on and study.

2. In the women’s game we practice 6 days a week, and weight train, and agilities 5 days a week. The GOFL would be playing some pretty good ball if we had that regime.

3. There's not much difference as far as the game, obviously men’s speed and strength is a big difference. The game is a little quicker with men. However because the girls practice every day and get coached every day, they probably are better mechanically. The infielders are pretty good at this level, since they get about 200 ground balls everyday. I know the 56ers take about 4 before their one game a week.

4. Girls need to feel good to play good, guys need to play good to feel good.

Q: If you could change one thing about the GOFL or fastball in general, what would it be?

I always wished that it was a professional game, I think it’s one of the best sports out there, and not a lot of people ever get to see it.

I also hate to see the sport declining so rapidly. I hope it keeps going in Eastern Ontario, but there just isn’t a lot of minor ball being played, and players coming up after we're done. But at the same time I think the GOFL has done a great job in keeping ball alive in the area. When I left Ottawa 9 years ago, their were like 4 teams playing, and now you are up to 8. I also know a lot of people are pretty appreciative of your work on the website and keeping people informed as to the standings, write ups etc.

Q: What is one thing that most guys in the GOFL probably don’t know about you?

That even though I love my job, I wish every day I was able to do the same job in Ottawa. It’s a tradeoff, I have an amazing job, but miss friends and family, and the ball and hockey leagues back home.

Great stuff KJ, thanks for participating and good luck with Razorbacks this season. We'll track the progress of the team on the blog.


Condelences to Shawn Houle

Jean-Pierre Houle, father of former I4C Victory and Kanata Pirates player Shawn Houle died on Wednesday.

More information here.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Elkland, PA tournaments for 2011

from Bill Sherman

The Elkland softball association announces their tournament dates for the 2011 season.

May 7/ The 10th annual Early bird round robin
ESAII level 5 team limit (Sat only)
$200.00 entry fee
Prizes are $15.00 per win and the 1st place tournament winner recieving $150.00

May 27-29/ The 5th annual Molly Sherman memorial
ESAII level 16 team double elimination 3 game guarantee
$275.00 entry fee
1st place - $1,000.00 plus trophy
2nd place - $500.00 plus trophy
3rd place - $300.00
most valuable pitcher and player awards
*Prize money will be based on 16 teams

August 26-28/ 18th annual "first weekend" tournament
ESAII level 16 team double elimination
$250.00 entry fee
1st place - $1,000.00 plus trophy
2nd place - $500.00 plus trophy
3rd place - $300.00
most valuable pitcher and player awards

September 2-5 / 59th annual Durk Sherman classic co sponsored by the Elkland Moose lodge # 746
Open level 24 team double elimination
$250.00 entry fee
1st - $2,200.00 plus trophy
2nd - $1,200.00 plus trophy
3rd - $600.00
4th - $300.00
5th - $100.00
6th - $100.00
tournament most valuable pitcher and player awards

* The Elkland Softball Tournament Committee has created its own open pitching list for all ESAII level events for 2011. All players names on the list will be restricted from pitching in those events. You may view this list on our website at www.elklandsoftball.com

* The Elkland Softball Tournament Committee has also restricted the top finishing 16 teams in the 2010 ISC world tournament from competing in the 2011 ESAII level events. The top finishing 16 teams' players in the 2010 ISC world tournament will be considered "open". Teams participating in the ESAII level events for 2011 may have 4"open" players per team with not more than 2 of them having PRAWN status.

Please feel free to mail or call me for more information and with any questions.
Bill Sherman

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Softball Ontario training grants available

from Softball Ontario

Did you know that your Softball Association could be eligible to receive $500 to help you train your Coaches, Umpires and Volunteers?

Softball Ontario, with the help of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, is please to provide your Softball Association with the opportunity to win a Softball Association Fundamental Excellence (SAFE) Award in 2011! With the new SAFE Award Application Process, the SAFE Awards will help your Association to make sure that you can improve your volunteer development efforts for the 2011 softball season.

How do I apply for a S.A.F.E. Award?
There are only three (3) steps to applying for a S.A.F.E. Award:

Step 1: Become a member of the Play Softball Network by February 1, 2011
It’s free and easy to join, with lots of benefits for your Softball Association! Download an application form here:
Step 2: Submit your SAFE Star Rating Application & Earn a STAR Rating for your Softball Association by February 1, 2011
Download a copy of the SAFE Star Rating Application Form here:
Step 3: Complete the S.A.F.E. Award Application Form and send it to the Softball Ontario Office by February 1, 2011
Download a copy of the SAFE Star Rating Application Form here:

All three (3) Steps in the S.A.F.E. Award Application Process must be completed by February 1, 2011 for your Softball Association to be considered for a S.A.F.E. Award. To assist you in your Application, sample application materials are available in the S.A.F.E. Star Section of Softball Ontario’s web site at http://www.softballontario.ca/content/view/447.

What is a S.A.F.E. Award?
A Softball Association Fundamental Excellence Award is an award of $500 for Softball Associations to use in one of four (4) categories:

Volunteer Development
Community Coach Development
Competitive Coach Development
Umpire Development

The Awards will help your Softball Association to train volunteers for the 2011 softball season, thereby increasing your volunteer capacity and the quality of your programs.

If your Softball Association receives a SAFE Award, you will also receive a special presentation of a SAFE Award Plaque at one of your Softball Association’s events. In addition, the SAFE Award will help your Softball Association to work towards improving your SAFE Star Rating!

If you would like to find out more information about the Softball Association Fundamental Excellence (S.A.F.E.) Awards, the S.A.F.E. Star Ratings Program, or if you have any questions please contact Lisa Crompton at lcrompton@softballontario.ca or call 416-426-7150.

Softball Ontario is the governing body for the sport of softball in Ontario. Our goal is to promote and develop the sport of softball for its athletes, officials and volunteers by providing programs and services at all levels of competitions.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario. Their mission is to build healthy and vibrant communities throughout Ontario by strengthening the capacity of the voluntary sector, through investments in community-based initiatives


Monday, January 03, 2011

Junior loves World Juniors

I was watching the USA - Canada World Junior Hockey semi-final tonight. The boys were allowed to watch the first period before bed.

Fitzroy Junior was right into it, reenacting every save, sprawling all over the floor, cheering on Team Canada.

When Canada scored first, Curtis Hamilton did the now common 'leap' celebration. (Check this one out for an example).

Caveman says "Why did he jump on the window, Daddy?" I explain to him that it's a way to celebrate. Fitzroy Junior says "It's totally cool. I do it when I score....er I mean I guess I will do it when I score." (Still waiting on the elusive first career Novice goal!)

No Fitzroy content in the event, but Carp is represented by Calvin de Haan, a great player and all around class kid who made an appearance at a ball hockey fun event in the Harbour this past summer.

Note to US readers: The World Junior (Under 20) Hockey tournament is a ten team event played every year in late December / early January every year. Sorta of like Canada's version of college football bowl season. Big deal here. Huge TV coverage, newspapers full of game reoprts. I was once at a 2009 pre-tournament intrasquad game (had a real good 'seat' - I was on the ice actually) and there were 7,000 people there. It's not such a big deal anywhere else. This year's tournament is in Buffalo. Tonight's game is about 17000 Canadian fans that crossed the border and a smattering of US die-hards.

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Pyjama Marathon

I was maxin' and relaxin' with the family over the Christmas / New Year's break as I took some time off during the two week school break.

The Caveman took relaxation to a whole new level. On Christmas Eve, we went next door to the home of the Skinny Family along with two other couples. It's an annual event - we get together to eat, have a few drinks and the traditional "one gift" opening for all the kids. Each year all of the 8 kids in attendance gets a new pair of pyjamas and the Caveman and Fitzroy Junior got a new pair of matching fuzzy PJs.

Caveman loves jammies. So much so, that he wore them for the next ten days straight. (Seriously.) Imagine it - going commando with no constricting underpants for a week and a half.

You see, a big treat for the lads on occasion during the summer or on a weekend is a "pyjama day". This is the rare day when we have nothing on the go and the boys spend the entire day in their sleepwear, running around the house.

Well, Caveman decided that he was going to have a pyjama marathon. Every day, we suggested he put on some clothes - and each day he politely declined. And we figured, what the heck, he's on holidays too. Once he put them on at Christmas Eve, he had 'em on straight through until he started school this morning.

Christmas Day at Grandma's - pyjamas. Boxing Day at Nana & Grandpa's - PJs. (Definition of Boxing Day for US readers.) The next day we played shinny hockey on the creek behind our house - he had the jammies on underneath his snow pants.

Later in the week, we went out on the Ottawa River near our house out to visit Uncle who was ice fishing. He took a break from ice fishing and towed the boys and cousins around on the ice on a sled behind the ATV. Lots of fun until the Caveman fell off - kinda. Fitzroy Junior, being a good brother, held on to his boot as best he could - dragging the Caveman through some standing water on top of the ice. Caveman was soaked to the skin. His Christmas Eve pyjamas were totally wet. He didn`t cry. He screamed. At the top of the lungs. For the entire duration as he was given a quick ATV ride back to the house. The pyjamas were off into the washing machine and Caveman was put in a hot bath. And of course when out of the bath, a back up pair of PJs were then put on.

The next few days included a New Year`s Eve road hockey game, some Xbox Kinnect sports action and a few games of Crazy Eights (his favourite), all with the back up PJs on.

Unfortunately for the Caveman, today being a school day, the underpants were taken out of the drawer for the first time in 10 days as well as a shirt and jeans, and the Pyjama Marathon was over.

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Fitzroy Fastball's favourite gift

I got some good gifts this holiday season. For instance, my two young lads went to the "Santa's Seconds" community event and picked out some nice gifts for dad - a gently used water bottle from the Cavemen ("You can use it at work when you are thirsty!") and a screwdriver set from Fitzroy Junior.

But the best gift of all this holiday season (not that I don't appreciate that new sweater, Mrs. Fastball) was when I went down to the Fitzroy Harbour Community Centre and saw that the new lights were installed on diamond two. This diamond will likely see some GOFL use this summer and will make scheduling much easier throughout the season for the local men's, women's and minor fastball leagues.

Thank you "Economic Stimulus Recreational Infrastructure Program"!

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