By Karl Cornelius & photo by Bill Chantler
The 2013/14 London Devilettes Junior Team is looking forward to the start of a new season with a team full of new players to the Provincial Women’s Hockey League (PWHL). The team plays in the 20-team PWHL with teams ranging from Windsor to Ottawa. The PWHL is recognized as the premier development league for women’s hockey with many players advancing to provincial and national team level as well as CIS and NCAA hockey.
This season’s Devilettes Junior team has some big skates to fill following in the strides of the very successful 2012/13 team that won silver in the PWHL Final Four last season. That team graduated 12 players as well as Head Coach Christina Joliffe who stepped down after three successful seasons including 2011/12 Coach of the Year honours.”
The new coaching staff consists of Bill Chantler, Kelly Paton, and Dwayne Blais.
- Bill brings vast coaching experience, having coached competitive teams at every age and competitive level in the LDGHA over the past 15 years.
- Kelly is a new coach to the Devilettes organization but brings a great deal of hockey skill and experience: graduate of the Devilettes Junior Team program, four years Division 1 NCAA hockey playing experience at the University of New Hampshire, and a Masters Degree in Coaching while an associate coach with the Division 1 NCAA Women’s Hockey Team at Mercyhurst University.
- Dwayne brings vast playing and coaching experience to the team having played NCAA and professional hockey and is now a premier hockey development coach.
The coaches will be relying heavily on the experience and leadership of the four returning players from last season’s team; Jenna Gray, Michaeline Falla, Jen Semkowski, and Kaylie Dennis.
Coach Chantler says, “We will be a young and pretty inexperienced team but these girls counter that by being very skilled and motivated group. These girls can really play, they will learn how to play in the PWHL very quickly and we will be a real competitive team. We’re all really excited about this team and can’t wait for the season to get going. The team is a real reflection of the Devilettes Organization as a whole. The Devilettes have really been committed to growing the game of women’s hockey”.
There are about 800 girls playing in the Devilettes program and at least three levels of competitive teams at each age group. On top of that, about five years ago, we really started to focus on development and implement a mandatory development program for all of our competitive teams. We are really seeing that pay off now with our competitive peewee and bantam teams. Our midget teams are becoming stronger and they are feeding our junior team program with some really talented and skilled players.
With no residency rules in women’s hockey, there were players from Brantford, Sarnia, Chatham and closer centers all around London trying out for our Junior team this year with 13 spots open. The final roster selection consists of 17 players of which 14 were Devilettes last season including five first-year players coming out of bantam. That just shows you that the Devilettes competitive program is working and there are some really talented players coming up through our program!
The Devilettes organization is really doing a great job with girls’ hockey in London. We have put some great coaches in place and have really grown the game by increasing the number of participants and by committing to developing their playing skills. It is really paying off in terms of success. Our competitive teams are always strong and our top-end players are being recognized. Jess Dodds is on the U18 National team and both Jess and Paige Horton played on the Provincial U18 team that won gold at the U18 National Championships last year. There are numerous girls who have graduated from the Devilettes program and gone on to play NCAA or CIS Hockey.
2013/14 Competitive coaches
Novice B Dave Darby Bantam AA Rob Burnett
Atom AA Brian Beaubien Bantam A (1999) Cliff Kay
Atom A Scot Chantler Bantam A (2000) Steve Vanroboys
Bantom BB/B Jamie Gardiner Bantam BB Shawn Hexter
Pee Wee AA Annette Darby Midget AA (1st team) Rick Grant
Pee Wee A (2001) Ron Solomon Midget AA (2nd team) Bill Gadd
Pee Wee A (2002) Rick Wouda Midget A Jamie Rice
Pee Wee BB Howie Thompson Midget BB Jeff Rae
Pee Wee B Shawn Wehring Senior AA Chris Broadworth