by Lee Brien
On Monday, March 4, six former Kemptville District Minor Hockey Association players were chosen in the 2019 CCHL Bantam Protect Draft that was held at the Nepean Sportsplex. The draft is an annual distribution of players from Eastern Ontario who will have the opportunity to try out for the CCHL’s U18 Midget AAA program in August. All 123 players selected in this year’s draft were from the 2004 birth year.
Three of the Kemptville area players that were selected played for the Upper Canada Cyclones Major Bantam AAA team this past season under Head Coach Terry Kehoe and Assistant Coach Kent Wilson. Three others were veteran players with the Rideau St Lawrence Kings Major Bantam AA team under Coaches Terry Gray and Gord Schultz. The six drafted players were divided up between the Kemptville 73’s, Brockville Braves and Smiths Falls Bears.
Wylie Dixon (UC Cyclones) – Smiths Falls Bears
Will Huffman (UC Cyclones) – Brockville Braves
Alex Mellon (UC Cyclones) – Brockville Braves
Julian Luberto (RSL Kings) – Kemptville 73’s
Kyle Ferrie (RSL Kings) – Kemptville 73’s
Blake Armitage (RSL Kings) – Kemptville 73’s
All six players are products of the KDMHA system. Dixon, Huffman and Mellon played Peewee House B hockey for the Panthers in the 2015/2016 season under Head Coach Jaz Ovenden, then went on to play Panthers Rep B in 2016/2017 with Coaches Todd Durie, Steve Collins and Josh Dixon. The three played AA the following year in Minor Bantam with the RSL Kings AA, and Major Bantam with the Cyclones AAA program this past season. Julian Luberto came up through the Kemptville Rep B program in Minor Peewee under Panthers Coaches Lincoln Tym and Dan Piche, and has been the Captain of the RSL Kings for the past two years of Bantam hockey. Kyle Ferrie and Blake Armitage started out with the KDMHA in Novice under Head Coaches Pete Johnston and Steve McDougall, and quickly gradated to the RSL Kings AA program where they have been playing for the past seven seasons.
KDMHA President Sylvain Campeau says, “This year’s CCHL Bantam Draft is a testament to the great coaching and quality of the programs offered by the KDMHA. Whether a child wants to play recreational hockey in Kemptville, or use it as a foundation for higher level play, the KDMHA is proud to support our local kids and help them reach their hockey goals and dreams.”
All six players will be attending U18 Midget AAA tryout camps with their respective teams later this summer, with an eye on cracking the lineup for the 2019/2020 season.