Since the early 1970s the provincial triple A rep minor hockey teams have partnered with the local OHL franchise for their on-ice brand. In Kingston during the 1970s and early 80s, AAA rep teams at all levels used the Kingston Canadian colors, which was followed by the Frontenacs’ brand after the franchise was purchased by Bob Attersley, Wren Blair, John Anderson and Bill Murray.
As of today, that heritage partnership has come to an end and a new era is about to begin. In a move that will be sure to rock the local minor hockey scene, Queen’s Athletics Director of Business Development Jeff Downie and his team have announced a partnership with the Greater Kingston Hockey Association, who will now be known as the Greater Kingston Junior Gaels AAA Hockey Association. This will officially end any ties to the OHL Frontenacs.
“The local response and continued expansion of the Junior Gaels program is so inspiring. It shows that our goal of inspiring Kingston athletes to attend Queen’s and one day play for the Gaels is what the community is willing to support. We are excited for our current student-athletes to be getting involved with the local youth,” said Downie.
In a press release, Greater Kingston Hockey Association President Scott Trueman said, “Our organization is pleased to team up with the Queen’s Gaels to enhance our program further, namely by supporting the duality that exists within elite student-athletes and their drive to be leaders on and off the ice, academically and athletically.”
All participants in the Junior Gaels program will receive benefits like:
- Opportunities to meet and learn from current Gaels athletes
- Coaching support from Queen’s coaches
- Free admission to Gaels sporting events
- Special Jr. Gaels programing at the Athletics and Recreation Center (ARC)
- Discounts and promotions
In addition to the support that Queen’s Athletics offers, the GK AAA hockey teams will be rebranded in the Queen’s colors and now wear Gaels uniforms.
Under Downie’s leadership, Queen’s Athletics have rebranded many of Kingston’s local provincial teams such as Grenadiers Football, Pegasus Volleyball, Clippers Soccer and the Greater Kingston Softball Association. The addition of Greater Kingston AAA Hockey will be the most visible of this initiative.
“In the past, many of these groups depended on the tireless work of volunteers for resources and support in areas such as social media. Well now, with our help and leadership, they have these resources,” said Downie. Downie went on to explain that the different groups will come together in monthly or quarterly meetings to share experiences that will help each group’s operations. Downie also stressed that all of the groups will maintain their independence while at the same time using the university’s resources to make the athletic and life experience unparalleled in the city’s sporting history.
“One of our goals is that all of the sports organizations will form true partnerships that will only strengthen the athletes’ experiences,” added Downie.
Justin Chenier, Executive Director of Business Operations for the Kingston Frontenacs said he wishes them well, and that Queen’s has a lot to offer in terms of resources.
The new Junior Gaels brand and uniforms are launching soon.
Visit www.gogaelsgo.com for more details.
Tim “The Coach” Cunningham has played every sport ever. His inside knowledge can be heard and seen on radio, television and in print across Canada. Follow him on twitter at @TheCoachTC.