Top 10 Chatham-Kent Sports Stories of 2018
Here they are. The Top 10 Chatham-Kent Sports stories from 2018:
10. Maroons Madness – The hometown team pumped out signings and acquisitions, and is consistently the most followed team in town. The team spent the offseason loading up on local talent, which kept readers and fans enthralled. They had a new coach at the helm, and the on ice product was exciting. The Maroons remain the backbone of our local sports community.
9. Lakers Don’t Win In 2018 – This story started with hope, and devolved into more of the same. We still hope for a rebound in the Lakers organization. The Lakers didn’t win a game in 2018, not one. Following the roller coaster, which has fluctuated between hope and complete despair, has been a popular story for our readers.
8. Raaymakers Racks Up Wins – Joseph Raaymakers has been one of the top local sports figures for the past several years. This season, he’s blossomed as an OHL overager with the London Knights. Raaymakers won league and National honours early in the season, and was almost unbeatable, helping his London Knights to the top of the OHL’s Western Conference. Although this is his last season of Junior hockey, we’ll undoubtedly be following Raaymakers’ progress in years to come.
7. Election Promises – We’ve heard it before, but one of the first items on the new council and mayors agenda was discussing a new arena. In fact, most elected at one point or another in their campaigns promised a new arena. Let’s see how honest and determined this group is to make something happen. With public meetings scheduled, it’s a new direction and step. Time will tell.
6. South Buxton Raceway Sold – The 2018 sports year came to a close with the historic South Buxton Raceway being sold, and immediately rebranded as the Southern Ontario Motor Speedway. New owner Henry Kroeker immediately looked to take the dirt track in a different directions.
5. Hometown Hockey – Thousands of hockey fans were treated to an unforgettable hockey extravaganza in Downtown Chatham. Ron MacLean and Tara Slone were on hand for the live NHL broadcast, local youth played road hockey, and the Ken Houston Memorial Agricultural Centre was home to a local hockey legends celebration. This was an event few sports fans will soon forget.
4. Pinty’s Rocks Chatham-Kent – Thousands of fans packed Thames Campus in Chatham for days of the world’s top curlers competing. Olympic gold medallists and world champions graced the ice, and Chatham-Kent was put on the National stage. Team Hassleborg and Team Gushue were the eventual champions. As well, the event brought in $1.1 million for the local economy.
3. Ronny “Tuukka” Betterley – Seldom does one young person bring so many together, but Ronny was the glue that brought a community, and the hockey community together. The PJHL Stobbs Division renamed their Defenseman of the Year Award after Betterley, and a charity road hockey tournament was launched. Ronny “Tuukka” Betterley remains a motivation for many.
2. Bridget Carleton Comes Home – Talk about a triumphant homecoming. The hometown hero was showered with love and adoration along with her Iowa State Cyclones as they defeated Eastern Michigan in front of a large Chatham crowd at the St. Clair HealthPlex. It was a tearful, and joyful evening, fitting of honouring one of the greatest athletes to ever emerge from Chatham. An all-american, and NCAA Carleton’s news-making continued away from home as well.
1. Ken Houston – A local hockey legend passed away. Although this is typically where the story would end, it wasn’t with Houston. Local teams immediately honoured Houston, followed by a group of Dresden residents successfully campaigning for, and renaming Dresden’s Arena the Ken Houston Memorial Agricultural Centre. “Doc’s” legend continues to grow in Chatham-Kent.