Happy Hawks hoisting Fred Page Cup in 2005

The Hawkesbury Hawks Junior Hockey Club was formed in March, 1974, by a group of Hawkesbury businessmen. They were requested by the Hawkesbury Minor Hockey Association to take over the operations of the local junior hockey team and decided to give some of their volunteer time in order to ensure the continuity of junior hockey in Hawkesbury. The Hawks succeeded prior to junior hockey teams which had played in Hawkesbury through the years in the junior ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories; the junior ‘A’ Montagnards, the junior ‘A’ Braves, the junior ‘A’ Meteors, the junior “B” Combines, and the junior ‘B’ Roadrunners. From the beginning, it was determined that the operation of a junior hockey franchise was too much of a financial burden for anyone to take it on alone. Therefore, over the years, the operation of the hockey team has been the responsibility of a community group of anywhere from fifteen to sixty members with an elected executive.

The Hawkesbury Hawks began playing in the 1974-1975 season as a member of the Ottawa District Hockey Association’s Eastern Ontario Junior “B” Hockey League, operating at this level for its first two seasons. In 1975-1976, the Hawks were successful in winning the junior ‘B’ league’s Northeast division championship final before losing out to the Morrisburg Lions in the League’s championship final in an exciting seven-game series. In those first two seasons, players Andre Woodbury, Luc Beaulne, Geoff Moore, Luc Villeneuve, Jimmy Radford, Yvan Joly, Pierre Louisseize, Robbie Soucy, Doug Kelly, Daniel Lalonde, Dan Conway, Wayne Bell, and Warren Williams were among those players who stood out.

The 1976-1977 season saw a turning point for the Hawkesbury Hawks hockey club as it made the jump from the junior “B’ category to the Ottawa District Hockey Association’s Central Junior “A” Hockey League. The first season in the Central League was an apprenticeship season, a season where the Hawks finished among the bottom teams in the league standings. Two players who performed well in this first season of junior “A’ were forward Brian Fontaine and goaltender Daniel Paradis. In little time, the Hawks became one of the league’s top clubs, especially under the leadership of coach G. W. (Mac) MacLean. In 1977- 1978, the Hawks finished in fourth position in the regular season standings and were eliminated by the eventual playoff champions, Pembroke, in a seven-game semi-final series. Player François Bessette won the league scoring championship and was also named the Central Junior ‘A’ league’s most valuable player.

The 1978-1979 season gave the Hawks the first of two successive Central Junior “A” Hockey League playoff championships. The team finished second to the Nepean Raiders in the 1978-1979 regular season but defeated this same club for the league playoff championship. Julien Cossette won the league’s scoring title and Tony Cuzzi was awarded the trophy for the league’s best defenceman. The Hawks subsequently won their Centennial CUP playdown round against the Quebec champion, the Thetford Mines Fleurs de Lys before being defeated by the Ontario Hockey Association champion, the Guelph Holody Platers. The 1979-1980 season saw a double regular season and playoff championship for the Hawkesbury Hawks as the Hawks defeated the Gloucester Rangers in the playoff finals. The Hawks however lost their playdown series in six games against the Joliette Cyclones of the Quebec Junior “A’ Hockey League. Player Scott Shields was voted the Central League’s most valuable player and Tony Cuzzi was chosen the league’s top defenceman for the second successive year. During the 1980-1981 season, under the direction of coach MacLean, the Hawks competed fiercely up until the end of the regular season and finally finished in third position. The team was eliminated in the semi-finals by the eventual playoff champions, the Gloucester Rangers. The 1981-1982 season was a campaign very similar to the previous year’s with a third place finish and a defeat at the hands of the eventual playoff winners, the Pembroke Lumber Kings. Player Jeff Brown received the trophy given to the Central League’s top rookie of the year.

In the early years of junior ‘A’, the Hawks also had among their ranks players like Rick Mills, Jocelyn Fortin, Charles Beaulne, Al Stoneman, Ray Pilon, François St. Pierre, Laurent Girard, Richard Duguay, Mark Harris, Jean Letourelle, Gilles Hébert, Sylvain Houle, Kevin Wrightley, Mark Emerson, Welter Dubas, Ernest Boutin, Jeff Pasher, Alcide Jutras, Doug Feasby, Kevin Sands, Jim Kyte, Mike Rowe, Bruce Cassidy, Jeff Wilson, Doug Shane, Jim Wallace, Dave McCormick, Scott Campbell, Réjean Leduc, and Jean Poulin.

The hockey seasons from 1982-1983 through to 1986-1987 saw some entertaining hockey under the watchful eye of coaches Jacques Martin, Douglas Harvey and Yvan Joly with an emphasis placed on the development of a greater number of local hockey players. In the 1982-1983 season, the Hawks finished in fourth position and were ousted in the league’s semi-finals by the Pembroke Lumber Kings. The 1983-1984 season saw the team in fifth place, though only a few points behind the league-leading Lumber Kings. The Hawks defeated the Brockville Braves in quarter-final action before once again falling to beat Pembroke in the next round. Player Mark Mahon received the award going to the league’s top student-athlete in 1983-1984. The 1984-1985 through 1986-1987 seasons saw the Hawks finish once again in fifth place and twice in the sixth position. In each of these seasons, the Hawks were beaten in quarter-final action by the eventual playoff champions. Ken MacRae received league rookie-of-the-year honors in the 1984-1985 season and Doug Derraugh was awarded the trophy as the top student-athlete in 1986-1987.

Other players having contributed to the team’s performances from 1982-1983 through to 1986-1987 included Jean Rouleau, André Rouleau, Michel Larivière, Steve Hogg, Denis Brousseau, Denis Larocque, Normand Sauvé, Normand Rochon, Sylvain Desforges, Bruce Racine, Carl Gauthier, Kevin Quartermain, Bret Martel, Willy Fahey, John Emond, Miguel Wathier, François Leroux, Pierre Gauthier, Frank Sinfield, Herb Séguin, Brook Kelly, Stéphane Coté, Eric Gélineau, James Brunet, and Craig Kennedy.

The 1987-1988 season turned out to be the low point in the Hawks otherwise fairly successfull history. That year’s squad compiled a record of only nine victories and forty-seven losses over fifty-six games. Fortunately for the Hawks, there was actually one other team in the league which finished with a worse record.

The next season, 1988-1989, started the Hawks’ rebuilding process under the tutelage of coach Robert Hartley. The team finished in third position in a tight race with the Pembroke Lumber Kings and the Brockville Braves and was once again defeated by its old nemesis, Pembroke, in the semi-finals. In 1988-1989, the Hawks were led by players such as Patrick Rheault, François Cadoret, Yannick Chiasson, Sébastien Laplante, along with veterans Gélineau, Coté, Brunet, and Kennedy.

The Hawks reached the top of the Central League in 1989-1990, winning both the regular season and the playoff championships. A defeat at the hands of the College Français of Longueuil in the first round of the Centennial Cup playdowns spoiled a successful season for the club. The Hawks were led by the league’s top defenceman and rookie-of-the-year, Nicolas P. Perreault along with Eric Vachon, Nicolas J. Perreault, James Reynolds, Claude Morin, Patrick Nadeau, Simon Toupin, Eric Veilleux, and Patrick Thériault.

The 1990-1991 season of the Hawks hockey club was once again a banner year with a regular season record of forty-two wins, ten losses and four ties. Lead by such stars as the league’s most valuable player, top scorer and rookie-of-the-year, Dominique Ducharme, were Jean-François Aubé, Sylvain Thibault, Eric Veilleux, Luc Boyer, François Leroux, Derek Armstrong, Dan McGillis, Sylvain Crête, Christian Felli, François Bouchard, and the league’s top goaltender, Jean-Pascal Lemelin, the Hawks repeated as Central Junior “A” Hockey League regular season and playoff champions. To add to his multiple league awards, forward Dominique Ducharme was named the top junior ‘A’ player in the Central Canada region.

As host of the first Central Canada Junior “A” Hockey Championship Tournament, the Hawkesbury Hawks won the preliminary round of the tournament against the Thunder Bay Flyers, the Sudbury Cubs, the Kanata Valley Lasers and the Montreal Olympiques. The Hawks lost their semi-final against Sudbury who were defeated by Thunder Bay in the championship final.

In 1991-1992, the Hawks, under the tutelage of François Bessette and later Jocelyn Fortin, completed another good regular season with a third place finish in the Robinson division, fourth in the overall standings. However, a loss to the Gloucester Rangers in the quarter-final brought about an abrupt end to the season. Dan McGillis was named the Central League’s outstanding defenceman in 1991-1992.

The year 1992-1993 will be remembered as a turbulent one in the history of the Hawks. The team went through no less than three head coaches during the season; Michel Lavoie, Jean-Pierre Fortier and finally Richard Morris. A good first portion of the season had the Hawks in second place in the Robinson division, close behind the Ottawa Senators. With the first coaching change, the team’s performance quickly soured. Two of the team’s top players, Martin St. Louis and Eric Perrin, left the club at the start of the new year, following a disagreement with the second coach. A legal action against the club followed so as to accord the two players their releases. The Hawks finished the regular season in fourth place in the Robinson division, sixth in the overall standings and were beaten by the Senators, the eventual playoff champions, in a quarter-final series. The league’s top graduating player, Pascal Degrandpré, along with forwards Michael Bazinet and Vincent Auger, were those whose performance was most noticeable in the 1992-1993 season.

The 1993-1994 season gave us a meager season under the reins of Richard Morris and of Yvan Joly for the second part of the season. The team finished in fourth place in the Robinson division, in ninth position overall, and took part in a quarter-final series against the Gloucester Rangers, a series won in six games by our opponents. Player Daniel Ménard was the top member of the team during the season.

1998-99 Year of the Cup
Coach Shawn Camp and his assistant Dave Léger lead the Hawks to a league Championship and to the CJHL cup. Hawks later went on the the final game of the Fred Page tournament in Charlottetown P.E.I., where they are defeated by Charlotetown by a score of 2 – 0.

2004-2005 – Two Championships
Eric Veilleux’s team went through quite a streak after the Christmas break, becoming the team to beat during the second half of the season.  This success brought them to the CJHL finals where they claimed the league’s championship.  They then headed out to the Maritimes where they picked up a second title, the Fred Page Cup, which sent them to the national Royal Bank Cup championship tournament.