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(Updated 5:30 p.m., March 26)
Revived Bradley Cup tournament a huge success

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Members of Team Cumberland pose with the Bradley Cup after beating Vars 3-1 in the final. Fred Sherwin/Photo

It's been 57 years since a group of Cumberland area hockey teams last competed for the Bradley Cup.

Since then the storied trophy has occupied a place of honour at J.T. Bradleys Country Convenience Store where it has sat as a silent reminder of a bygone era -- until now.

On Friday five teams from Navan, Vars, Sarsfield, Orléans and Cumberland gathered at the Navan Memorial Arena to compete for the 90-year-old challenge cup and raise a few dollars for a good cause in the process.

The honour of dropping the opening puck was given to 95-year-old Eric Smith, who played for Navan in the 1946 Bradley Cup, and brothers Bill and Basil McFadden, who along with Bob Burns, played for Navan in the '50s.

Each team played two 45-minute round robin games using a running clock and no stoppages except for a five minute break at half-time. The top team earned a bye into the final, while the second and third place teams played-off for the other spot in the championship game.

The tournament also featured an alumni/old-timers game which was won by the Navan old-timers who beat their Cumberland counterparts 5-4.

After the game, Navan team member Wally Burns talked about the extra safety precautions that we're taken for both teams.

"We had a defibulator standing by on both benches and an ambulance across the street at the fire station," Burns said half-jokingly. "The game was 30 minutes and that was long enough."

The final was played between the more experienced Vars team and the much younger Cumberland squad which had a number of players with junior and collegiate experience including Brett Shutron, brothers Michael and Matt Nooyen and Dave Walters.

Kyle Cashman scored Cumberland's opening goal on a pass from Devan Coburn at the 18 minute mark of the first period. Three minutes later Yves Potvin streaked down the left wing and beat Cumberland goalie Tyler Nutall short side to tie the game for Vars.

The outcome was decided shortly after the half-time break when Michael Nooyen and Devan Coburn scored 24 seconds apart to give Cumberland a 3-1 lead, which is how the game ended.

Cumberland captain Scott Toonders said winning the Cup was a matter of pride.

"It's awesome bringing it back to Cumberland," said Toonders. "It was a lot of fun today. Everybody put in a lot of hard work. But we're ready for a nap now. Hopefully there won't be much to do tomorrow."

Eric Smith drops the opening puck at the Bradley Cup as Ross Bradley, Bob Burns and Basil McFadden look on. Tom Devecseri/Photo

The tournament was co-organized by Navan resident Frank Boyer, and J.T. Bradley's owner John Bradley, who is the great-grandson of the Cup's founder John Thomas Bradley.

Besides the action on the ice, there was also a beverage lounge in the arena hall, a spaghetti dinner, a 50/50 draw and a silent auction with over 40 items.

The proceeds from all three activities will be used to help out Gerry Lalonde, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Grateful for the support, the Navan resident worked the scoreboard and the game clock for most of the day.

With well over 500 people attending the event and contributing to the cause, Boyer and Bradley were thrilled with both the turnout and the money raised

"We won't know the exact total until we get a chance to add it all up, but it should be pretty good," said Bradley. "It's been great. The whole community has come together. We've had some surprises like Navan losing their first two games. No one thought that would happen, but at least they were able to come back and win their last one."

Boyer was already thinking about next year and beyond before the two teams took the ice for the final.

"We couldnt't have imagined it being like this," said Boyer. "It's been phenomenal and we only put the thing together in the last month and next year it's going to be even better. It's going to be phenomenal. This is going to be a tournament that goes on for years."

Ross and John Bradley present the Bradley Cup to Cumberland captain Scott Tooders as Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais looks on. Fred Sherwin/Photo

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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