WOAA Senior Hockey Season Preview

WOAA 75th Anniversary Logo.

The WOAA is set for another great season of senior hockey, and this year, it might be more of the same.

The defending champs heading into the season are the Clinton Radars, who went on a dominant tear through the playoffs, only losing twice in the semi-finals to Petrolia. Clinton swept away Huron East in round 1, got through Petrolia in 6, and swept aside the Mapleton-Minto 81’s in the final to capture the title. Clinton will come back strong with many returning players, and if Kurtis Bartliff and Luke Vick are still in the mix, the team will be dangerous again. Those players were in the top three in playoff and regular season scoring.

Speaking of championship runs, the Mapleton-Minto 81’s have been desperately close 3 years in a row now, only to fall in the finals. After 2 years of mostly dominant play and losing in the finals, it was almost a cruel fate to run into the Clinton team that they did last year. If there’s a team in the league that can put it all together this year though, it’s this one. Plenty of talent has been on the roster these last 3 seasons, and it shouldn’t be any different this year. The 81’s only had two players in the league top-20 scorers in Scott Tregunna and Andrew Coburn, but they have a deep lineup that scores by committee and they always have good special teams. If they can put it nall together for an entire playoffs, they just might win it all this season. Four’s the charm, right?

Tavistock is always dangerous in terms of championship threats as well. The 2015 champs were ousted in a tough 7 game series with Petrolia last year in round 1, but could easily rebound and take back the throne. Petrolia will still be a threat, as will the Centenaires in Huron East, who had the 5th highest scorer in the regular season in Brendon Merritt. Saugeen Shores will look to get to the final after losing in the semis to Mapleton-Minto, and Shallow Lake will hope to improve after a first round loss to the same 81’s. Durham lost a tough 6 game series in the first round to Saugeen Shores, and they will look to make bigger strides this year.

Lucknow, Ripley, Shelburne, Milverton and “A” division champs Tillsonburg all return as well.

As another WOAA season gets set to kick off tonight, there’s plenty of hope and promise that it will be even more entertaining and engaging than last year.