Article by N. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer
We’re only a few months into the hockey season, but the Clarington Eagles are proving to be a serious contender for the PJHL Schmalz Cup again this year. The team is tied for first place in the Orr Division with a current record of 15-2-1. Despite playing fewer games than their opponents, the Eagles lead the division with an impressive 110 goals so far in the season (the Bruins are in second with 86 goals) and 34 goals against (the Merchants are second with 53 goals against).
“The 2021 -2022 season was an amazing one for the Clarington Eagles, one that would be hard to match,” said Eagles’ president Kirk Kemp. “However, the great coaching staff has assembled a great group of young men, and they are off to a very strong start this season.”
Several Eagles have already been recognized for their accomplishments this season. The Eagles Player of the Month award is sponsored by Hooper’s Trophies and Sportswear and Hooper’s Jewelers. The coaches focus on overall effort, things players do that don’t always appear on the game sheet, off-ice contributions, and on-ice statistics when making their selection.
Brady Darrach was announced as the first player of the month for October. Brady made his grand return to the Eagles on October 4th with an incredible seven-point performance in Lakefield. He played hard all month long on offense and defense while totaling fifteen points in seven games played that month.
“It was pretty cool when I found out I was winning the award for October player of the month,” said Darrach. “Our team as a whole played really well that month. A lot of guys on the team were deserving of the award. Hopefully, the team and I can keep playing well in the upcoming months and going into playoffs.”
Nate Stirling was the second recipient of the player of the month award for November. With four goals and two assists in four games played that month, Nate continued his successful ways by doing what he does best, going to the dirty areas of the ice, working hard in the corners, and standing in the front of the net. He plays 200 feet of hockey, can win faceoffs, and is an on-ice pest to each and every opponent he faces. Off the ice, he participated in the Bowmanville Santa Claus Parade and is one of the locker room leaders on the team. Nate is described by the coaches as one of the hardest-working players.
“It was a surprise to receive the award and I am happy that the coaching staff likes what I am doing,” said Nate. “I am willing to battle hard in tough areas of the ice and do whatever is required for the team to succeed.”
Eagles’ captain Dawson Manning has also received special recognition this year. He was awarded the PJHL Orr Division player of the month award in October.
“Dawson is in his third year with the Eagles. He followed up a solid rookie season in 2019 with an even better year last year, leading us in scoring and being our best forward in the playoffs during our run to the finals,” said head coach Dean Baumhauer. “Dawson is a quiet leader; he prefers to let his play do the talking. He takes pride in being a point producer with great on-ice vision, but the best part of his game is that he plays a 200-foot game. We trust him as much defensively as we do offensively.”
In addition to the player of the month awards, the Eagles typically award a player of the game for home games sponsored by Frosty John’s Pub and Restaurant. Leading the pack with two player of the game awards this season are rookie forward Trent Gaylor and rookie goalie Carter Watson. Brady Darrach, Colson Boyle, Connor Davies, Jordan Shaw, Dawson Manning, and Owen Manarin have all also received this recognition.
“Thanks to the dedication of our coaching staff and the hard work of our players, we are back in first place again this season,” said Kemp. “Come out and see our Eagles play their way into another championship run.”
Take Kirk’s advice to cheer for your hometown Eagles! Your next chance to do so in Bowmanville will be a rare weekend home game. The Eagles face off against the Lakefield Chiefs on Sunday at Rickard Arena. Puck drop is at 7:25 p.m.