by Mike Keenan
As Niagara fans bid farewell to the baseball ‘Jays (hoping for a better team next year), Brock Athletics is in full gear with hockey and basketball programs resuming for another competitive season.
Neil Lumsden, Brock’s athletic director hired a new hockey coach from St. Catharines. 53-year-old Marty Williamson, who compiled a 218-157-33 record and never missed the playoffs in six seasons behind the Niagara IceDogs bench, was been named interim head coach of the Brock men’s hockey team.
Williamson succeeds Murray Nystrom, who left after 18 years as the Badgers’ coach.
Williamson indicates that he is excited to be at the University level, coaching players who are at a different point in their career compared to the OHL, working on both academics and hockey.
Under Williamson, Niagara won two Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference championships before he was abruptly let go after the 2015-16 season with two years remaining on his contract, surprisingly replaced by assistant coach, Dave Bell.
“We’re fortunate to get a high-quality coach like Marty, who brings a wealth of experience and has had great success coaching in the OHL,” enthused Brock athletic director Neil Lumsden. “With the season right around the corner, the players are excited and motivated to get going.”
League play for the Badgers gets underway Wednesday, Oct. 11, on the road against Guelph. Brock’s 2017-18 home opener at the Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre (240 St. Paul St. West) is Saturday, Oct. 14, versus the York Lions. The Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre boasts four NHL size ice pads, the Wormald, Masse, Keen and Lapinski Mini Rink, Parks, Recreation and Culture Services administration offices, the Lookout Sports Lounge, concession booths, a sports store and a sports clinic.
Last season the Badgers finished fifth in their division behind Ryerson, York, Laurier and Guelph with a 14-13-0-1 record and they were swept by Guelph two games to none in the opening round of the OUA playoffs.
Williamson has one St. Catharines native on the squad, Chris Maniccia, a centre at 5’11’ and 190 pounds. Maniccia, now a senior, attended high school at Denis Morris. Other members of the team from Niagara Falls are Matt Mannella, Matt MacLeod, and Sam Quantara. Alex Brooks-Potts is from Burlington, Brandon Cercone from Welland and the Badgers boast one European,
Milan Doczy from the Czech Republic.
Margot Page is head coach of Brock’s women’s hockey team. She played for the Canadian National women’s ice hockey team from 1989 to 1994, winning three gold medals at the IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships (1990, 1992, 1994).
As a coach, Page spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach with the Brock women’s program. Previously, she coached the National Women’s Under-22 team, leading them to gold medals at the 2003 and 2004 Air Canada Cup and 2010 MLP Cup.
Centre Alex Poirier and defenseman Lauren Webb are both from St. Catharines while Annie Berg is from Beamsville, Cara Sayles, Welland, Hunter Acurrsi, Ancaster and Megan Delay is from Fort Erie.
Brock’s ladies finished ninth out of thirteen teams last season.
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