Sports

Pembroke Lumber Kings start 2017-18 season Labour Day weekend, home opener on Sept. 17 at PMC

By Pembroke Daily Observer

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The Pembroke Lumber Kings will look to rebound from a disappointing season when they start the 2017-18 season with team owner Dale McTavish back behind the bench of the Central Canada Hockey League’s most successful franchise.

The Lumber Kings will kick off the season on Saturday, Sept. 2 versus the Cumberland Grads, the first of three games in three days at the league’s annual Showcase event in Ottawa. Pembroke will also play Rockland and Hawkesbury on the opening weekend.

The Kings will stay on the road for three more games before playing the home opener on Sunday, Sept. 17 against the Brockville Braves. The Kings will play 29 home games at the Pembroke Memorial Centre including four Sunday afternoon games, four Friday night games, one Saturday night game on Thanksgiving weekend and the traditional school day game on Friday, Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. Both the Thanksgiving and school day games will be against the four-time defending league champion, Carleton Place Canadians.

The Lumber Kings will close out the 62-game schedule at home against the Rockland Nationals, on Sunday, March 11. Rockland is re-joining the league after a long absence as a result of the re-location of the Gloucester Ranger franchise. Rockland and Pembroke are the only two CCHL franchises that have won a national junior A championship. The Nationals did it in 1976 and the Lumber Kings won the RBC Cup in 2011.

The Lumber Kings will have several players returning from last year’s team including all-star defenceman Patrick Kyte, forwards Matt Barnaby, Brendan Browne and goaltender Jake Smith. They have also signed the son of Lumber Kings' scoring legend Peter White to a junior B card with the new Whitewater Kings of the CCHL2. Peter White Jr. will be eligible to play a minimum of 10 games with the Lumber Kings this season.

“We expect to have a much more skilled hockey club this season,” says McTavish, who is excited about having a Junior B team affiliated with the Lumber Kings in Cobden. “Having the Whitewater Kings will make it much easier to transition players to the Junior A level. It will provide more depth in our organization and make it much easier to track the progress of our players who are playing on our U-18 and junior B clubs.”

The Whitewater Kings will kick off their inaugural season in Cobden on Saturday, Sept. 16 versus the Renfrew Timberwolves. Some of the players on the Junior B club will practise with the Lumber Kings on a regular basis, starting with the Lumber Kings training camp which opens on Aug. 13 at the Pembroke and Area Community Centre.

The Lumber Kings will play five exhibition games beginning with a Sunday, Aug. 20 evening tilt with the Nepean Raiders. The Kings will host Smiths Falls on Thursday, Aug. 24 and Carleton Place on Sunday, Aug. 27 before starting the regular season.

Season tickets remain on sale for the 2017-18 season for the CCHL’s most storied franchise. The Lumber Kings have won more league championship than any other club and are recognized as one of the most successful Junior A hockey clubs in the country.