Rivalry renewed in Gananoque

The men’s hockey team plays Royal Military College in a fundraiser tonight

The Queen’s Gaels and the Royal Military College Paladins resume a 125-year-old hockey rivalry tonight in Gananoque.
The Queen’s Gaels and the Royal Military College Paladins resume a 125-year-old hockey rivalry tonight in Gananoque.

The men’s hockey team will start their preseason Friday by resuming a 125-year-old rivalry with the Royal Military College Paladins. They’ll compete in the sixth annual Lou Jeffries Memorial game at the Lou Jeffries Gananoque Recreation Centre.

The two teams played their first game in 1886. They face off five times this season and compete in an annual one-game playoff for the Carr-Harris Cup in February.

“It’s the battle of Kingston,” Gaels forward Kelly Jackson said. “We don’t like each other too much.”

Head coach Brett Gibson said the preseason game will be an opportunity for him to evaluate his roster before the regular season starts.

“I allow guys that haven’t had big roles in the past to expand their role,” he said. “I also need to see the young players out on the ice and give them the time to get used to the speed of the game.”

The annual game was established in memory of Lou Jeffries’ contributions to the local hockey community. He worked in the Gananoque Minor Hockey Association for 50 years and helped bring the Junior B Gananoque Islanders to the region in 1971. Away from the rink, his humanitarian efforts in fundraising for children earned him two Gananoque citizen of the year awards.

Gibson, a Gananoque native, said the community wants to give back to Jeffries.

“Lou Jeffries was … always at the [games],” Gibson said. “To be able to commemorate him with this game means a lot to me as a Gan[anoque] guy.”

The game raises money for a scholarship awarded to a first-year player who stands out in both academics and athletics. Over five years, the game has raised $17,500 for the Gaels’ top incoming recruits.

Gibson said he started the memorial game and the scholarship in 2006 when men’s hockey wasn’t receiving scholarship money from Queen’s Athletics.

“It’s something that I’m proud of,” Gibson said, adding the scholarship is also a recruiting tool he can use.

This year’s $3,500 award is going to defenseman Patrick McEachen. Previous recipients of the award include forwards Jonathon Lawrance and Payton Liske.

“It’s a huge honour, looking at the previous winners,” McEachen said.

The Lou Jeffries Memorial game starts at 7 p.m. at the Lou Jeffries Gananoque Recreation Centre.

— with files from Gilbert Coyle

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