Early Woodstock Junior Hockey
Junior hockey has a storied history in Woodstock with the Warriors in the 50’s and early 60’s … including an OHA Sutherland Cup Junior B Championship in 1955 with a roster that included future NHL Hall of Famer Bobby Hull, who came here from playing minor hockey in Belleville to lead the Warriors to the title before moving on to the Junior A St.Catharines Black Hawks. The following season the team’s roster included Walter Gretzky.
Birth of the Navy Vets
The Woodstock Navy-Vets were founded by Sam Keeping and a executive committee in 1966-67
when they were granted a Junior C franchise by the OHA …
they spent their early seasons playing in the Intercounty Junior C Hockey League.
1967: In The Beginning – The Inaugural Season Story
(An excerpt from the 1990 25th Anniversary book by Ron Johnson).
OHA Junior C Schmalz Cup Championship Season
The Navy Vets won their only OHA Junior C Championship in the 1968-69 season, eliminating Dresden 4 games-to-0 in the quarter-final and New Hamburg 4 games-to-1 in the semi-final before beating Oakville Blades in 7 games in the final.
Super C and Junior B
In 1971-72 the Vets moved to the Western Junior B Hockey League when the ICJCHL disbanded.
In 1972-73 the Vets moved to the Western (Central) Junior C Hockey League.
In 1976-77 the Navy-Vets helped found the Southwestern Junior B Hockey League, and played in that league for the 2 seasons that it existed, along with the London Diamonds, St.Thomas Colonels, Tillsonburg Mavericks, Simcoe Jets, and Brantford Penquins.
In 1978-79 the Navy-Vets joined the Niagara District Junior C Hockey League, where they played until 2013-14.
George S. Dudley Trophy Super “C” Appearances
This trophy was awarded during the 1970s to a new class of junior hockey known as Super “C”. The teams that competed were deemed to be from centres too small for Junior “B” but yet too big for Junior “C”. The cities that competed for it: Barrie (MOJBHL) , Woodstock (ICJCHL & CJCHL) , Kitchener (CJBHL & WOJHL) , Owen Sound (CJCHL) , and Brantford (CJCHL); struggled throughout that decade to find Junior “B” leagues that suited their needs. While waiting, these teams generally played “down” in the Junior “C” level and awaited the Super “C” playoffs. The class was disbanded by 1976 as the only teams eligible for the championship had found homes in Junior “B”.
1970: lost 4-2 to Barrie Colts …. More Info
1971: defeated Kitchener Ranger B’s 4-2 to win title …. More Info
1972: no championship playoff
1973: defeated Kitchener Ranger B’s 4-3 with 1 tie to win title
1974: defeated Owen Sound Salvagemen 4-0 to win title
1975: defeated Owen Sound Salvagemen 3-0 to win title
1976: defeated Brantford Penguins 4-0 to win title
1978: Future NHL Star
The Navy Vets roster for 1977-78 included a star rookie who would only play this one season with the Vets before moving on to higher levels and eventually a very successful NHL career … Bernie Nichols !!
1984: The Cardiac Kids
After finishing in fourth place in the 1983-84 NDJCHL West regular season with a record of 13 wins, 9 losses, and 8 ties, not many locals figured the Woodstock Navy-Vets would have a very long playoff run. In the end, the Navy-Vets would play a total of sixty-five games that season and six rounds of playoffs. In the division quarter-finals, the Navy-Vets drew the New Hamburg Spirit 83’s. The Spirit were a tough team and the best-of-5 series went the distance, Woodstock taking it in the end 3-games-to-2. In the division semi-final, the Navy-Vets then took on the Dundas Blues. The Blues were tough early, but the Navy-Vets had all the momentum and took the series 4-games-to-2. They next played the well rested and top ranked Norwich Merchants in the division final. The Merchants, like the Blues, were tough early in the series but the Navy-Vets were tougher winning 4-games-to-2. They next had to play the Stoney Creek Warriors in the Niagara District championship. The Warriors were tough and dominated much of the play. The series went back and forth, and ended up going to a final and deciding seventh game. Woodstock fought hard and took Stoney Creek into overtime. Early in the second overtime, Woodstock would break the hearts of the Stoney Creek faithful in their own arena and win 6-5. From this point on, the Woodstock Sentinel-Review referred to the 1983-84 edition of this team as “The Cardiac Kids”. With the win, the Navy-Vets were catapulted into the OHA Junior C semi-finals. Their opponents would be the Dresden Jr. Kings of the Great Lakes Junior C Hockey League. Dresden took game one big, 10-4. Game two went to Woodstock in double overtime (4-3) and game three in single overtime (8-6). Dresden came back and put Woodstock’s backs against the wall with 4-2 and 7-2 victories, leaving the Cardiac Kids in a do-or-die situation. Woodstock responded and won 6-5 and 6-2 to win the series. They then moved on to face the Penetang Kings of the Georgian Bay Junior C Hockey League in the provincial final. Penetang had just knocked off the Bowmanville Eagles 4-games-to-3. Unfortunately for the Cardiac Kids, the Kings had no intention of losing, taking the series in four games: 8-7 in overtime, 6-5, 9-6, and 9-1. The fairy tail run was over for the Navy-Vets, as they walked away Niagara West champions, Niagara & District champions, and OHA Junior C finalists.
The 2001–02 Navy Vets had a terrific season.
The team combined size and talent to excel in scoring, defence, and toughness. They won 25 games and had 52 points to finish in 1st place in the West Division during the regular season by 10 points over rival Norwich Merchants. They beat New Hamburg Firebirds in 6 games in the West Division Semi-Finals and then knocked off Norwich in 5 games to win the West Division title. They then upset the East Division champ Chippawa Riverhawks, who had an identical season record as the Vets, in 6 games to win the Niagara District Junior C Hockey League championship and move on to the OHA Semi-Finals against the Great Lakes Junior C Hockey League champion Essex 73’s.
The series was hard fought with the Navy Vets finally succumbing in 4 games. The team captured the enthusiasm of the city during their late season heroics with fan support building in numbers and noise with each playoff victory to a peak in the 2 games at Southwood Arena for the OHA SF that saw sellouts of over 2000 fans at each game.
The Navy Vets were led up front by the trio of Jeremy Demarest, Chad Paton, and Matt Carey. Demarest won the West Division scoring title with 62 points and a division-high 40 assists. Demarest also was named Most Sportsmanlike in the West Division. Forward Taylor Winkler was among the league leaders in hits. The blueline was anchored by Chris Corriveau, Scott Roode, and Sean McLaren. The goaltending tandem of Mike Matika & Matt Richardson provided stellar goaltending all season finishing 2nd in the West Division in Goals Against. The team was led by West Division Coach of the Year Scott Brooks.
Clarence Schmalz Cup Finals Appearances
1969: defeated Oakville Blades 4-3 to win OHA title
1984: lost 4-0 to Penetang Kings
OHA Semi-Finals Appearances
1981: lost to Essex 73`s
1995: lost 4-0 to Belle River Canadians
2002: lost 4-0 to Essex 73`s
The Woodstock franchise under new ownership changed from it’s traditional Navy-Vets moniker & logo and ended it’s 41-year relationship with the Oxford County Naval Veterans Association at their 2007 awards banquet.
The Woodstock Renegades played their first game under a new name to begin a new era in team history in September of the 2007-08 season.
Woodstock community members take over team
The Navy Vets announced major organizational changes for the 2013-14 season !!!!
A local group of Woodstock community members will represent the Navy Vets as it’s Board of Directors
committed to taking the team back to a pillar of excellence in the community both on and off the ice
that it once was.
The Navy Vets also became a member of the new Midwestern Junior C Hockey league for 2013-14 … formed from the OHA Junior C realignment of the NDJCHL West Division & SOJHL … they joined Norwich, New Hamburg, and Paris from the old NDJCHL West Division along with Ayr, Burford, Delhi, Tavistock and Wellesley from the SOJHL in the new league.
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
SENTINEL ARTICL – ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES
HEART-FM AUDIO CLIP
SENTINEL ARTICLE – PLAYERS OPTIMISM
50th Anniversary Season
“The Strength of our Future… Is in our Past!”
The Navy Vets released a new 50th Anniversary Logo and Jersey
for the 2015-16 season !!
PROVINCIAL TITLES – 6 , 1 OHA (1969) & 5 OHA SUPER C (1971,1973,1974,1975,1976)
LEAGUE TITLES – 0
DIVISION TITLES – 0
REG.SEASON DIVISION TITLES – 1 (2022)
LEAGUE TITLES – 4 (1981,1984,1995,2002)
DIVISION TITLES – 10 (1981,1983,1984,1985,1988,1993,1994,1995,1999,2002)
REG.SEASON DIVISION TITLES – 7 (1981,1983,1993,1995,1996,1997,1999,2002)
OTHER LEAGUES –
LEAGUE TITLES – 3 ICJHL (1967,1969,1971) , 1 CJCHL (1974)
REG.SEASON TITLES – 3 ICJHL (1968,1969,1971) , 3 CJCHL (1974,1975,1976)
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