2018-2019 EXHIBITION SCHEDULE RELEASED
Date: Jul 21, 2018
“Trenton is a little bit different,” proudly said Director of Hockey Operations, John McDonald. That statement alone speaks volumes about the culture the Trenton Golden Hawks organization has built in their community. With all the great franchises and teams in the OJHL, Trenton is certainly a little bit different from the rest.
Off the ice, the amount of money Trenton raises for charity rivals several OHL teams. Their initiatives include: pink in the rink, purple in the rink, blood drive, Terry Fox run, Salvation Army Christmas kettle drive, military nights, sending players to local schools to help with teaching, and countless more.
(story continues below image: TRENTON, ON - FEB 21, 2018: Ontario Junior Hockey League game between the Trenton Golden Hawks and the Stouffville Spirit. Ceremonial puck drop. Photo by John Lewis / OJHL Images)
On the ice, Trenton has become a force over the last few seasons. Winning back-to-back Dudley-Hewitt Cups in 2015-16 and 2016-17 was an incredible feat. But all of the Golden Hawks accomplishments would have been difficult to achieve without their dedicated and passionate fanbase. “The fan support is the big thing,” McDonald continued, “everything we basically do is for the fans, without them we wouldn’t’t have a hockey team.”
The Golden Hawks have led the OJHL in attendance for the past 3 seasons. In that time frame dating back to 2015, Trenton has sold 51,251 tickets. That’s excluding their deep playoff runs, pre-season games, and other various events the community has held (Canada West vs Russia World Junior Classic, Eastern Canadian Challenge, and OJHL Winter Showcase). To put that in perspective, the town of Trenton, Ontario sold enough tickets in 3 years to nearly sell out the Rogers Centre in Toronto (capacity 53, 506). The support and dedication from such a small community is something Trenton should take great pride in.
But the fans don’t just show up when Trenton is playing home games, many of them will even travel to nearby games on the road. When the Golden Hawks were in Kirkland Lake competing for the Dudley-Hewitt Cup, Trenton was getting 500-600 fans to watch their G-Hawks on the big screen at their home arena. All the while, a hat was being passed around for each game collecting money to send out West to the forest fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta. When McDonald told me “it’s like a big family down here” he wasn’t exaggerating by any means.
Despite struggling this season, Trenton still led the league in attendance which is a testament to their support. Some of the standout fans in Trenton have been given the moniker “Section 7” and even refer to themselves as “the looney tunes”. They’re a passionate and rowdy group that show up in full force every game with just about anything you can use to make noise.
One of the founders and admins of the Golden Hawks related Facebook page “The Hangar” is Dan Everett, a Trenton native. “I absolutely think it’s important to support the team through the tough times,” said Everett, “they need to know we have their back win or lose.” McDonald stated that Everett might not have missed a practice or game in the last 5 years of Golden Hawks hockey.
One shining example of how much the community appreciates their Golden Hawks, is the story about former captain Mac Lewis’ final game in a Trenton uniform. He went to record a podcast that Trenton’s radio announcer hosts after every game. A fan approached Mac and gifted him his own sweater. But this wasn’t’t just any sweater, this jersey was bought by the fan during Mac’s first season with the Golden Hawks and that fan held onto it for 3 years. “That’s a moment I’ll never forget,” said Lewis, “He was my biggest fan and yet he still gave it back to me. You won’t get fans like that anywhere else but Trenton.”
Mac Lewis was a leader on the team through Trenton’s two Dudley-Hewitt Cup runs and a leader in the community. McDonald spoke very highly of him, saying Lewis is “a role model” and “a great young man.” Lewis along with his teammates, were looked up to as celebrities in Trenton.
Lewis fondly reminisced about his time spent in Trenton. He had 4 teammates he billeted with that became like brothers. He also became exceptionally close with the coaching staff, management, and the fans. “Many people would talk about how hard it was to play against us in Trenton and I think a big part of that was because of the fans and how loud it was”. Mac is currently deciding where to play U SPORTS hockey, but Trenton will always hold a special place in his heart.
While the G-Hawks may have struggled through this season, don’t expect that to be a trend. With great minds in management, a dedicated coaching staff and a fan base that is second to none in the OJHL, Trenton will always be a desirable place to play and will be looking to bounce back this forthcoming season. Things are certainly a little bit different in Trenton, but I’m sure the Golden Hawks, Trenton community, and loyal fans wouldn’t have it any other way.