Winterhawks 560

It's been a long road back, but the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks are returning.

In a September 29 media release, the Winterhawks will mark their return after 591 days, opening their 2021/22 WOAA Sr. "AA" Hockey League season on the road October 8th against the Clinton Radars.

The home opener is set for Friday, October 15th when the Seaforth Centenaires visit The Plex at 8:30 p.m.

The team has signed a mix of new and returning players for 2021/22, including a former Winterhawk and WOAA champion on the comeback trail.

46-year old forward Bill Monkman returns to Saugeen Shores after 12 years on the sidelines. The Tara native last played for the Winterhawks in 2008/09, where he scored 25 points in 17 games, helping the team to its first championship.

Monkman also played professional hockey in the United States and Australia.

The goaltending trio remains together, as Jeff Flagler, Eric Peicheff and Matt Tutin will guard the crease once again. The trio combined for a 16-6-0 record in 2019/20.

Captain Trevor Smith returns on the blueline with incumbent defenders Josh Hopkin, Josh Deyell and Mike Smailes, who returns after missing 2019/20 due to injury.

Port Elgin native Riley Robertson headlines the additions on defence, the 6'6" Port Elgin native played the past four seasons for Calvin University in Michigan, and prior to that, skated for four seasons between Jr. A Cobourg Cougars and the Jr. B. Listowel Cyclones.

The team has also added 28-year old Brock Pinnell, a Strathroy native who played Jr. B and Jr C. in the London area, as well as a season with the Kincardine Bulldogs. 30-year old Kevin McCallion steps in after growing up playing in his hometown of Burlington.

Up front, nine returning forwards have signed, including Miles MacLean, Jay Thomson, James McHaig, Andy Mitchell, Michael Johnstone, Jamie Shoemaker, Lauchlin Elder, Matt Shields and Trent Hawke.

Port Elgin native Ben Van Ooteghem comes home after splitting his junior career between the Jr. A Pembroke Lumber Kings and Listowel, which he followed with parts of two seasons with the WOAA's Clinton Radars.

Forward Justin Donnelly joins after wrapping up his junior career, which included stops with his hometown Jr. C Walkerton Hawks, the Wingham Ironmen and Jr. B stops with Brantford and La Salle.

Port Elgin native Justin Marlowe is the first player in team history to be born in the 2000s, and played previously with the Kincardine Bulldogs.

Season tickets are now on sale for $100 each, which includes guaranteed admission to all 2021/22 regular season home games and playoff games. Tickets can be purchased at Gord's Imprints & Design, 685 Goderich Street in Port Elgin. Cash or cheque only.

Limited single game tickets will be available for $10 each at the door, the exact number will be determined by capacity [approx 500] and the number of season tickets sold.

All WOAA Sr. Hockey League games are included in the provincial vaccination policy, which requires all participants and spectators 12 years of age and older to show proof of full vaccination [defined as 14-days post-receipt of second dose] or medical exemption in order to be admitted into the arena.

Masks and/or facial coverings are also mandatory for those who are able to wear them, with the exception of while actively eating or drinking.

"We ask that all fans understand the team and league are required to follow these protocols in order to be allowed to play," read the release. "Any abuse or disruptions directed toward Winterhawks volunteers or arena staff will not be tolerated."