The Bandits need to begin winning more often – 2 in 7 at this point in the season makes playing in the finals look iffy.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 1, 2013.  The London Majors, one of xx teams in the Intercounty Baseball League, scored three key runs in the top of the ninth inning and staved off the Burlington Bandits 11-8 in one of three games played Saturday afternoon.

Burlington (2-7) rallied from an early 5-0 deficit to tie the game 5-5 heading into the fifth inning before London posted two runs in the fifth, one in the eighth and three in the top of the ninth for an 11-5 lead. The Bandits posted three runs of their own in the bottom of the ninth, but fell short of completing the comeback.

After starting the season with an 0-2 record, this is the Majors (7-2) seventh straight win.

Reliever Jacob Raffaele earned his first win of the season in what was his longest outing of the year, allowing just one hit and one walk with six strikeouts over four scoreless innings. Mike Mitro earned the save, flawlessly registering the final out.

The Majors boasted 12 hits on the afternoon, including a single and a home run from Cleveland Brownlee, who added three RBI and three runs scored. Jon Celestino also homered and drove in a pair. Paul Young singled, doubled, scored twice and had two RBI, while Derrik Strzalkowski had a pair of hits, an RBI and a run scored. Adwin Springer singled, scored and drove in a run, and Parris Austin and Ryan Lapensee each singled and scored. Paul LaMantia singled and added an RBI.

Matthew St. Kitts took the loss for the Bandits in relief, allowing six hits and two earned runs with one walk and three strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings.

The Bandits scored their eight runs all on just five hits, while also committing four errors on the afternoon. Brian Sewell had a three run home run in the fourth inning with two runs scored, while Daniel Peake singled, doubled, drove in a pair and scored. Darryl Pui had a pair of hits and two RBI in the loss.

The Burlington Bandits return to Nelson park in one week when they take on the Brantford Red Sox. Saturday marks BOMBA day, all BOMBA members are encouraged to wear their team colors! Many activities are available for kids including face painting, base running and much more! Game time 2:00pm.

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The Terry Fox run this September wil be an event to remember – and be a part of as well.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 29, 2013.  The run doesn’t take place until September but this year expect to see a lot of new faces serving as volunteers.

The event has taken place for the many years and, like any organization, new people are needed to replace those that have done their turn and want to move on.

Getting new people is easier said than done but when Don Carmichael, the current president of the Burlington event,  wondered aloud at a meeting of the current volunteers, if perhaps they could persuade Casey Cosgrove to get involved.  We urged Carmichael to at least give Casey a call.

Last year Casey had a team of people running the race and he was a natural for this initiative

Casey Cosgrove had a couple of hundred people walking with him last year in the Terry Fox Run. This year he will serve on the organising committee – imagine if those who ran and walked with Cosgrove all volunteered as well? This is going to be THE event come September. Get your name on the list now.

Cosgrove told his Facebook friends that: “I recently met with the really nice folks who organize the Terry Fox Run here in Burlington and I have decided this is a cause I want to help more with, and have joined the committee. This year’s run is September 15th. One of the things I know I can help with is reaching out for some new blood/volunteers. So that’s where I am starting – if anyone would like to help on some way – in advance, or the day of, send me a message. I am hoping to get a bunch of adults, as well as a bunch of teenagers. It’s a small local event, but one near and dear to me as those who know me well are aware. I don’t want people to feel compelled, but if this sounds like something you’d like to connect to, I’d love to bring you in the fold.”

We call that stepping up to the plate.  Kudos to the “cause” and his case.

Cosgrove takes credit for getting the current Mayor in office.  When Cosgrove ran against Rick Goldring and a number of others in the 2006 election he lost to Goldring by very few votes.  That made Goldring the Council member for Ward 5 for the 2006-2010 term after which Goldring went on to become Mayor. Cosgrove argues that had he won in 2006 we would not have Goldring as Mayor.  That’s a bit of a stretch but it’s one Cam Jackson would have liked to seen as true.

Cosgrove has this capacity to draw people to him.  His personal health issues kept him away from serving publicly but – well the Terry Fox run has a special meaning for him.

We wish him well – and watch how he pulls in the volunteers.


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Are we talking four and 0 here? Didn’t Leafs do something like that? This is Burlington, we don’t do things like that here.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  May 23, 2013.   The Burlington Bandits coming off three straight losses, traveled to Toronto for an afternoon showdown with the Maple Leafs.  They got whipped.

Will Richards had five hits, including a two-run homer, as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Burlington Bandits 10-5.

Glenn Jackson also smacked a two-run homer and had two hits with three RBI as Toronto survived a terrible first inning to out-last the Bandits while pounding out 16 hits.

Not looking all that good are we?

Richards went 5-for-5 with three singles, a double and homer, driving in three runs and scoring another two. Cody Mombourquette added two hits, two runs scored and two stolen bases, while Rob Gillis chipped in with two hits and also scored twice.

The day didn’t start well for Toronto, as the Leafs made three crucial errors in the top of the first inning to fall behind 3-0. But Burlington made two errors in the bottom of the first to help the Leafs score three times to tie the game, and it was pretty much all Toronto after that.

Leaf starter Clay Caulfield picked up the win in his season debut, despite not getting much help from his teammates defensively. Caulfield went five innings, allowing five runs – just one earned – on six hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Drew Taylor and Justin Cicatello both contributed two scoreless innings of relief to complete the seven-hitter.

Home and away schedule for May.

Brian Sewell had two hits and scored twice for the Bandits (1-4), who have dropped their last four games. Brad Bedford, Jeff MacLeod and Kyle Morton all added RBI singles.

Starter Alex Gale took the loss. He went four-plus innings and was tagged for eight runs on 12 hits without a strikeout or a walk.

The Burlington Bandits return home Thursday night when they look for redemption from the Maple Leafs; game time 7:00pm; Nelson Park.

 The Bandits are home again Saturday to see if they can do any better against the Kitchener Panthers.

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Bandits lose a close one to Kitchener; team is now one in three at this point in the season.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  May 18, 2013.   The Kitchener Panthers, playing against the Burlington Bandits  managed just three hits but that’s all they would need to edge the Bandits 3-2.

Keith Kandel hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning to account for all of the Kitchener runs and the Panthers got stellar pitching to improve to 3-1 on the season, while the Bandits slipped to 1-3.

Marcos Reyna started and went seven strong innings, allowing just two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Mike McGillvray pitched a perfect eighth before Kyle McKay pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth inning to earn a save.

Mike Andrulis had a hit, a stolen base and scored a run for the Panthers, who had only one hit besides the two they managed to score their three runs in the fifth inning.

Burlington starter Mathew St. Kitts went five innings, taking the loss. He allowed three runs on two hits with seven strikeouts and three walks before Kyle Bolton finished up with four shutout innings, allowing just one hit with two strikeouts and two walks.

The Burlington Bandits are on the road tomorrow as they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2:00pm start. The Bandits will return home next Thursday when they host Toronto at 7:00pm.

For more information about ticket prices and game schedule, visit the Bandits online at

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The Burlington Bandits take the London Majors in a tight, thrilling 12-11 game at Nelson Park

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. May 13, 2013.  It was a thrilling way to open the season for the Burlington Bandits who took their first home game by a slim 1 run win in the final inning when  Paul Saville drove in the winning run with a double to cap a three-run ninth inning rally.

The host Bandits were up against the London Majors.

The Bandits scored three runs with one out in the ninth to steal the win from the Majors (0-2) in their first game of the season. Burlington trailed 10-4 after four innings but stormed back much to the delight of their hometown crowd.

The Burlington Bandits were pumped as they went into their Home Opener and beat the London Majors by a single run in the 9th inning.  Great baseball!

Saville drove in three runs and scored a run for the Bandits, while Jeff McLeod drove in three runs. Darryl Pui added a pair of RBI, while Kyle Morton added a solo homer for Burlington, which made five errors and won despite being out-hit 12-7.

Jason Pilkington started for the Bandits, going three innings. He allowed seven runs on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Reliever Matthew St. Kitts got the win, allowing one run on three hits over four innings, striking out four.

Adwin Springer homered and had two hits, three RBI and four runs scored for the Majors. Paul LaMantia had three hits, two runs scored and an RBI, while Derrik Strzalkowski drove in three runs for London.

London pitchers were badly hurt by 11 walks. Starter Cory Hammond went 5 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on three hits with five strikeouts and six walks. Ryan Lapensee was the loser, charged with six runs on three hits with three strikeouts and five walks in 3 1/3 innings.

NEXT: The Bandits play against the Brantford RedSocks, in Brantford on the 15th,  then the Barrie Baycats on Thursday the 16th at Nelson Park in Burlington and then meet the Kitchener Panthers on Saturday the 18th.  After that is on the road playing against Toronto Maple Leafs at Christie Pitts May 19th.

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Mountain bike races at Kelso start May 21st; registration open now.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. May 9, 2013   The weekly Mountain Bike series at Kelso Conservation Area is back this summer with races starting on May 21 and running every Tuesday until the Finale Event on August 27 (last series race August 20).

With 14 races in total and multiple distances/categories this is a great addition to your training program with some of the best climbs in southern Ontario, or a fun way to challenge yourself to achieve a personal best.

Great trails for many different ability levels on some of the best climbs in southern Ontario.

The series is now in its fifth season and often sees over 200 riders of all ability levels from all over southern Ontario and beyond. The staff at Kelso keeps the focus on fun, and has nurtured a strong and supportive community of riders over the years.

Registration is now available online, and in the Visitor Services Centre at Kelso, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Riders can also come out on May 14 from 4 to 8 p.m. to preview the trails and register on-site for the series.

Riders can pick up a discount coupon to save an extra $10 on your series registration from one of our many great sponsors, who are listed on the race webpage. Sign up for the series (14 races and the finale event) and choose to race as many as you want; or sign up for individual races whenever you want.

We encourage everyone to sign up for the series as it’s such a great value. Once again a safe, fun, challenging and free kids course will be offered at the base of the hill, so be sure to bring the little ones out for a taste of the action.


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A really nice twist – the Bandits who will not take a dime from you are partnering with United Way who want to sell you a 50/50 draw ticket.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 22, 2013.   The Burlington Bandits, members of the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) that has been around since 1909,  have teamed up with the United Way as  an official partner for the 2013 season.  When you put the word official on anything you know that someone is serious and they want your attention.

The United Way will be found at all 21 home games this season conducting 50/50 draws, giveaways and other contests throughout the 2013 season “The Burlington Bandits are proud to be able to team up with United Way and give back to the community” said Bandits President Scott Robinson. “We feel this partnership is not only good for the team but also the community.” The United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton is extremely excited to partner with the IBL Burlington Bandits for the upcoming 2013 season. “This partnership demonstrates the Bandits are committed to making change happen in the Burlington community.”, said Brian Ferguson, Chair, 2013 Burlington United Way Campaign. “This is a small example of the new initiatives and energy the Burlington Cabinet plan to bring to this year’s campaign.”

Those are the “official statements.  The real skinny on this is that Len Lifchus, chief cheese over at the United Way – a man who can find himself short 90 big ones and still manage to somehow deliver on the United Way promise.

The Bandits, known as the Twins in their first two years of IBL play in Burlington before being bought and renamed by Scott Robinson during the off-season, open their 42-game 2013 schedule in Guelph on Saturday, May 4.

The home opener will be played Saturday, May 11 at Nelson Park at 2 p.m. against the London Majors. You won’t miss Len – but more to the point Len won’t miss you.  A ‘bon vivant” if there ever was one.

Great move on the part of the bandits and a great place for the United Way to take all your loose change from you.

Burlington’s Town Crier, Dave Vollick will be on hand to get the afternoon started.  There is word that Lifchus kind of likes the costume the Crier wears – but he is apparently going to settle for a Bandits jersey.

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Time to grease that bicycle chain and get ready for the first chance this season to race around outdoors on your mountain bike.

By Staff

MILTON – Hilton Falls Conservation Area is getting ready to kick off the 2013 Mountain Biking season with its 14th Annual Spokes and Slopes All-Weather Challenge,  which takes place on Sunday, April 21.

There are a variety of categories including, ages 10 and under, teen, and adult, with a choice of long or short courses. Stick around after the race for a BBQ lunch and some great prizes!

Race sign-in starts at 8 a.m. on the day of the Spokes and Slopes All-Weather Challenge and the first race gets underway at approximately 9:30 a.m.

Hilton Falls  Mountain Bike All-Weather Challenge – April 21st

Participants can register for the All-Weather Challenge online through the Conservation Halton Events Calendar,, and clicking on All-Weather Challenge. You can also call Hilton Falls Conservation Area at 905-854-0262 for more information or to register.

Participants looking to practice can come out and test the track for the All-Weather Challenge in a pre-race ride from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 20. Course maps will be available at the Hilton Falls gatehouse. The pre-race ride will be held as long as Trail Conditions permit.

Hilton Falls Conservation Area will be closed to the public during the All-Weather Challenge on Sunday, April 21 until 1:30 p.m.

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Burlington Bulldogs Atom A’s host provincial Ontario Hockey Federation finalists.



Hockey players at the Atom A level erupting when Becky Kellar, the speaker for the event,  told the crowd that she “hated the Canadiens”.  The young players appear to have shared her view.

By Staff

Picture of the week is a banquet hall full of boys and girls at a hockey banquet with parents on hand to at least try and keep some of the noise down and they succeeded until Becky Kellar, an Olympic level hockey player who won 3 Gold and one Silver medals between 1998 and 2010 told her audience:  “I hate the Montreal Canadiens” – and the room erupted.

The energy and the enthusiasm was electric as players who were taking part in the hockey season finals banquet for which Burlington was the host community.

Kellar was telling the boys and girls that a true athlete never gives up and that they also get up off the ground when they fall and push forward.

She was there to give one of those motivational speeches that only proven athletes can give – because they have been there and understand what it takes to get up and give more to whatever the sport happens to be.  The room with teams that were in the Ontario Hockey Federation Provincial Atom A finals and were in Burlington to play over the weekend came from:

West London Hawks

Cobourg Cougars

Credit Valley Wolves

Temiskaming Puckhounds

The Burlington Bulldogs were the host team.

Unfortunately Burlington was knocked out in the semis but it could have gone either way.  It was a tie at the end of the third and they lost to West London 4-3 in overtime.

 The practice now at these events is to have a “loot bag” for all the participants which this year included a copy of The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier, paid for by local dentist Berta Bacic.



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Cogeco Cable getting into sports broadcasting with a bunch of bandits.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 10, 2013  In just over a month, the umpire at the Nelson High ball park will bark out – “play ball” and the third season of Burlington’s InterCounty Baseball League (IBL) in Burlington will begin.

Is Burlington going to see some “bad guy” baseball this summer. Bandits open at home May 11th.

The team now has new owners, a new name and a whole new approach to promoting semi-pro baseball in the city.

The team has announced an agreement with Cogeco Cable that will have TVCOGECO broadcast select games during the 2013 season.

Robinson explains that he became the majority owner the original group felt the team needed more local,  hands on direction and he certainly has some big plans.  His opening day line-up of not only player but of special events will both surprise and delight many in this city.

“The Bandits, were known as the Twins in their first two years of IBL play in Burlington before being bought and renamed by Scott Robinson during the off-season.  The team opens their 42-game season 2013 schedule in Guelph on Saturday, May 4. The home opener will be played Saturday, May 11 at Nelson Park at 2 p.m. against the London Majors.

Thursday and Saturday’s – baseball nights at Nelson High park.

The IBL was established in 1919 and has proven to be a great league for younger players to develop their skills and move on up into the majors.  For the many mid-size communities it offers good sports at very attractive prices – a great affordable way to get the family out for an afternoon of good clean fun.

All the rain we’ve had this past two days doesn’t make one think baseball,  but if you listen closely and let your imagination work for you – you can hear the crack of a maple baseball bat smacking the ball and watch that ball arc into the air – and who knows if it will be caught – a double play perhaps?

“Play ball!”


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Minor hockey in Burlington gets 20 big ones: $20,000 in the bank – what should it be spent on?

By Pepper Parr

No one knows how many times this vote button was pushed. Often enough to bring $20,000 to Burlington.

BURLINGTON, ON  April 5, 2013  Goderich managed to get more votes for themselves than Burlington and they get the $100,000 Kraft – The Games Goes On award – but Burlington was most definitely in the race and will be given a $20,000 award for the Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association (BLOMHA)

John McNeil was the Burlington “poster boy” for this feat when Kristen Priestner nominated him as the “manager extraordinaire” and that got McNeil in as a finalist.

The contest, which was open to any community in the country that ran a minor hockey team that met the Hockey Canada criteria, was based on nominations that came in from individual communities.  The country was broken out into five regions, with Ontario being one of them  Once all the nominations from each region were in, Kraft narrowed down the list to five from each Region.  Burlington was up against Goderich, Lakefield, Cornwall and Stittsville.

Just over 18 months ago Goderich got hit with a major hurricane that tore apart the centre of that city – the community had to pull together and that experience would have had them well-oiled for the Kraft – The Game Goes On contest.

The selection was based on “votes” but these were not like the usual vote – in this game a person could vote as many times as they wanted and for whoever they wanted.  All you had to do was log in click the vote button, key in the code to ensure that you were a human being and not some computer out there dialing in.  Then all the user had to do was click on the vote button.

And then did it all over again until your were numb with exhaustion.

There it was – proof positive that BLOMHA was in the winner’s circle.

No one knows yet what the individual counts were for each community – the total for the country was reported at 750,000 which seems quite low.

Dirk Wolterbeek from Goderich, Ontario, received the most votes and is being recognized today with a $100,000 award to the Goderich Minor Hockey Association. The other four inspiring Ontarians earning a $20,000 award for their selected minor hockey associations include Mike Goble from Lakefield, Rod McLeod from Cornwall, John McNeil from Burlington and Cathy Bureau from Stittsville.

Burlington’s nominee, known as a “Manager Extraordinaire,” John McNeil was described by his nominator, Kristen Priestner “as going  above and beyond for the Major Atom A Burlington Bulldogs. Whether fundraising, coordinating tournaments, hosting the Parents’ Christmas Social or organizing this year’s Ontario Hockey Federation Playoffs, McNeil is the heart and soul of his team.”

As we reported on this event during the two-day race to get as many votes as possible – the picture that told the story for us was this one. The kids are focused and just clicking away. That guy in the middle is going to be playing the game – real soon.

The voting started at 9:00 am last Saturday and other than a small hiccup at the start it went smoothly.  Burlington parents were involved in their hockey end of season games.  Besides driving to London twice and getting their kids out to two games in Burlington this band of parents had to hustle anyone they knew with a keyboard to dial in and vote.

Working from a “hot spot” on the 401 and a cell phone – these “bulldogs” managed to vote frequently.

“We used a cell phone to find a “hot spot” on the 401 and had kids on-line via the cell phone to vote as a parent drove” explained McNeil.

The winners of awards were announced Monday night during a Flyers -Canadiens game (Montreal lost which was not a good sign) and Kraft announced the $100,000 winner for Ontario – Goderich.

Well – they certainly no where their bread is buttered. A $20,000 prize tends to pull smiles like this. This is the BLOMHA core that made the award possible – there are probably a couple of bodies that didn’t make it. I want to know – which one is Kristen Priestner?

For fans – it is all about the game and $20,000 is nothing to sneeze at.  McNeil who doesn’t control the award does expect the BLOMHA executive to use the funds to defer fees for kids who can’t afford to play and to buy equipment for those who need better than what their families can afford.

The core team did gather at McNeil’s house to watch the results – “it was a school night and we had practice last night, practice tomorrow, all the parents are going to a community fundraiser Friday night and we have a game Saturday…. Busy busy.”  And they still managed to bring home $20,000 worth of bacon.

McNeil hopes Kraft releases the numbers. “we would like to see how we fared against the other communities – it will give us a sense of where our strength is and where we can improve”, said McNeil.  Ever the analyst – he wants data.

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Not the most promising of starts – maybe the name change needed a slower introduction. The Twins have become Bandits

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  March 27, 2013 What we all knew and loved as the Burlington Twins appear to have gone rogue and changed their name to the Burlington Bandits.

And just to show they don’t play by the rules they cancelled their Easter Sunday Workout.  This was an “official” team  workout.

New name, new look and a new location. The Bandits will play at the Burloak Sports Centre this season

The Bandits next scheduled spring training workout is scheduled for Sunday, April 7th at the Burloak Sports Centre from 12:30pm to 2:00pm. Open to the public of course  and if you think you can swing the big stick or scoop a bouncing ball and get it back to second base before the runner does you are encouraged to attend.  First chance to get a look at the  updated roster.

The Burlington Bandits home opener is May 11th, 2013 against the London Majors; tickets only $7.

The Burlington Bandits are an independent minor-league baseball team of the semi-professional Inter county Baseball League (IBL). The team was founded in 2011 as the Burlington Twins and changed ownership and name in 2013.

Burlington businessman Scott Robinson now calls all the shots and signs the cheques as well.

The Bandits play a 42-game season with 21 games at home and 21 on the road.

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Was the drive strong enough? Were the forces behind the literally hundreds of people clicking that vote button enough?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 25th, 2013  “Busy day Monday as we return to normal jobs and prepare for a trek to London for game 6 of our playoff series” was the note we got from John McNeil as he frantically continued to vote and vote and vote again to earn that award of $100,000 from Kraft Foods that would be used by the Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association (BLOMHA) to cover the cost of getting more players on the ice pads.

John McNeil was at his keyboard until the very last-minute Sunday night – squeezing in that very last vote for the Kraft Foods $100,000 award

They were minutes and then it was over – you could try to enter a vote but the system wouldn’t take it – and for those hundreds in Burlington who had been voting for two days – it was over.

During the hectic two days parents still had to get their kids out to hockey games, still had to do the shopping and keep the house in order.

Now – the wait while the Kraft Foods people do the counting – which should take just a matter of minutes because everything was electronic but it will be more than a week before they go public.

If you were at the McNeil house Saturday night you were at a keyboard – voting.

So for now those that did the work – a chance to sit back and know they did their best.  During the next few days there will be hundreds who will say ‘if they’d known they would have voted.

The Mayor was chatting up the business types at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast Friday morning and he forgot to mention the event – even though he was touting that Burlington was now the # 1 mid-size city in Canada within which to live.  We hope our Mayor at least went on-line to vote a couple of times – won’t be too long  before he’s looking for votes himself.


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Is the 48 hour keyboard marathon going to get BLOMHA a $100,000 award for minor hocey? You can help make that happen.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. March 24, 2013  While they can’t see the finish line –they all know where it is – hundreds of people who are involved with minor hockey or know someone who is involved,  got dragooned into going on-line and clicking away at a red button with the word VOTE on it.

Have you voted yet?  If is before 11:59 pm on Sunday the 24th of March – you can still vote.  Vote NOW!

They were out to win the $100,000 that Kraft Foods had put up for their Hockey Goes On contest.  Kraft asked for nominations and got thousands of them from across the country.  They narrowed those thousands down to twenty from five regions they created.  Ontario was one of the regions and Burlington was one of twenty communities in the region.  John McNeil was the hockey person nominated from Burlington by Kristen Priestner, a parent who had a son playing for the BLOMHA Bulldogs in the atom division.

BLOMHA, Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association, focuses on developing skills in the game of hockey and building character.

McNeil and Priestner pulled together the people they needed, first by reaching out to the other sports organizations and asking them to support the effort. Then friends, family, associates – even passersby were asked to support the effort.

That was the kernel of an operation that just grew.

If you were at the McNeil household Saturday night you took your turn clicking away at the keyboard and registering votes for the Hockey Goes On $100,000 award that was up for grabs.

There is no way for anyone other than the people at Kraft Foods to know who is leading.  Each community just has to do its best to get its people out voting.  This is a bit of an oddity in that anyone from anywhere can vote and they can vote as often as they want.  If someone has the fortitude to stay at the keyboard for 10 hours – there is nothing to stop them.  The community that sticks to it and organizes the most people with the most dedication gets the $100,000 that gets used for the development of hockey.

The force behind the Hockey Goes On was a need to recognize the people, those volunteers who make hockey happen at the minor league level.  Some of those players might make it to the professional league level but that’s not a BLOHMA objective.  Rick Dawson who serves as the president of BLOMHA is there to help kids play the game and take their talent as far as it can be taken and to build character and community values in the process.

The organization has thousands of kids playing the game, hundreds of coaches and many other support people who are part of what hockey at the community level is all about.

Katherine Hartman on the left (Barracudas player helping out her cousin and BLOMHA), Tiegan Priestner, (birthday girl helping her brother) and the youngest Daniel, with the official BULLDOGS mascot.

Kristen Priestner knew exactly who she wanted to nominate from Burlington when she heard of the contest.  Sheila Ramage knew that her weekend was shot when McNeil got nominated.  Sheila is one of the team that runs the operations side of the BLOHMA office and handled a lot of the phoning around and keeping people in touch during that 48 hour marathon.

Our Burlington asked Kraft foods if they could tell us anything about how the event was going.  We got this back from their offices:

“We are pleased to report that we have had an outstanding response to the Kraft Hockey Goes On voting period. As you may know, Kraft Hockey Goes On helps Canadians share their passion for the game by recognizing important local contributors who make hockey happen in communities across Canada. Through the program, we began accepting nominations on January 21st and received over 1000 inspiring stories about the dedicated Canadians who invest their time and energy into local hockey every day. Nominations closed on March 8 and on March 16, we announced the top 100 nominees, as narrowed down by a panel of judges.

“Canadians are now voting for their favourite local hockey supporters at and working hard to rally votes on We did experience a short period of down time on the site as the voting period began yesterday at 9a.m., but resolved it as quickly as possible and we are excited to see the votes continuing to roll in. The voting period continues until 11:59pm EST this evening, so we encourage Canadians to keep on voting!

Flyers were needed – quickly. friends got called in, printing presses inked up and paper-cutter turned on. Colour Works Printing pulled in all the child labour!they could find.  was it enough?


“The top five nominees who receive the most votes will be recognized for their contributions and $100,000 will be awarded to their selected Hockey Canada-affiliated minor hockey association. The subsequent top 20 nominees with the most votes will be recognized with a $20,000 donation to their selected minor hockey association.

A point of clarification: Each Region, and Ontario is one of the five regions, will have one – $100,000 award  and four $20,000 awards.

Every hand, or in this case, keyboard counted.  Two Bulldogs on the way to a tournament in London on Saturday clicked while on the 401.

“We look forward to seeing the impact that these funds will have on local Canadian hockey communities and are proud to recognize the individuals who do so much to make this nation’s sport go on every day. Canadians can tune-in to the winner announcement taking place during the Montreal Canadiens vs. Philadelphia Flyers NHL match-up on TSN on Wednesday April 3, 2013.”

Burlington is up against:   Stittsville, Goderich, Atikokan, Barrie, Renfrew, Verona, Sarnia, Weston, Langton, Moose Factory, Kitchener, Prescott, Napanee, Pelham, Amherstview, Lakefield, Cornwall, Brampton and Fergus.

There are still a couple of hours to vote.

At press time Kristen Priestner reported: “We had Moms voting in the lobby right up to game time tonight at Appleby, one Mom (Shannon Scullion) even voted throughout the entire game because she felt guilty about taking the time off to go for a run this afternoon!  We had siblings putting flyers around the parking lot and voting throughout the game as well.”

” Back to it, crunch time now!  May have to have a team party on results night!”

There will be a nail biter of a party at the McNeil household the night the award winner is announced.  Should be a great hockey game as well – Canadiens and the Flyers – not much better than that.



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Expect to see quite a bit of child labour used by BLOMHA parents this weekend – there’s $100,000 up for grabs and they want it.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 23, 2013  This should be illegal.

They want you to vote as often as you can.

No limit as to how often you can vote AND no age limit either.

Before reading any further – slip over to the voting link we are talking about and vote a couple of times – you’ll feel better after doing that a few times – then come back and read on.

Can you imagine if those rules applied in the municipal election – we’d have a council of nothing but nut cases.  Don’t anyone dare come back with the comment: Isn’t that what we have now?

From left to right Katherine Hartman (Barracudas player helping out her cousin and BLOMHA), Tiegan Priestner, (birthday girl helping her brother) and our youngest Daniel, with the official BULLDOGS mascot.  Daniel is obsessed with Bulldogs hockey, he’s got his Bulldogs hat on and bulldogs pj pants!   

Kristen Priestner’s daughter is voting today and it’s her birthday.  Her brother is in the van with his Dad on the way to London to play “the good old hockey game”.  But they will be back in the evening and at the key board.  If you live on Marc Lane or anywhere near the street, drop in on the McNeil household – won’t be hard to find his place – the street will be filled with parked cars and the rooms will all have that blue glow from computer screens.  Wonder how many computes can get through the WiFi in the McNeil household?

What’s this all about – and who is giving away $100,000?

Kraft Foods has a contents going on where 20 communities from five different parts of Canada have been nominated and are finalists in this contest.  John McNeil was nominated for Burlington and is up against 19 other cities and towns  in Ontario.

The place that gets the most votes gets the $100,000 – with $20,000 going to the next four.

If this guy approaches you – take the flyer and vote – as often as you possibly can and bring that $100,000 first prize to Burlington and BLOMHA.

The money has to go to the promotion and improvement of minor hockey.  And in Burlington BLOMHA is a leader in the development of hockey skills and the building of character.

This is a two-day event – it started at 9:00 am this morning and ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday the 24th.  Remember, no age limit and you can vote as often as you want.  What Kraft Foods is doing is seeing just how much spirit a community has – the one that gets its people out and on the keyboards is the one that will take the prize.

Has Burlington got what it takes?  We will know at the end of the month when the results come in.

There is no tally of who is ahead – you don’t get to know that – you just have to dig deep and get your people to the web site where they log in and vote.


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Burlington’s players are on the ice and in position to win the contest and make the city the # 1 minor hockey city in the province.

By Pepper Parr

BLOMHA – the Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association is working like crazy today, Saturday and again on Sunday to register the votes needed to bring $100,000m to their organization.

If you want to know what being a real # 1 is all about –  click on the LINK – then come back to the story.

This is all about getting additional funding for this minor hockey team. Let’s see how well the city gets behind the effort.

The puck got dropped at 9:00 am sharp; then it looked like the server went down; probably because f a surge in demand.  Then it was up and the puck was red and you could vote.

There was a box you had to enter two words into before your vote got counted – that was to prevent anyone from setting up a program that would automatically place votes

When you are entering the two words, watch the spelling and don’t leave a space between the two words.

The players now have to log in, enter the two words shown and the vote gets counted.  Then do just that – again and again – and remember – there are 19 other communities doing exactly the same thing.  Burlington will win if they do it more often than anyone else.

That’s what Burlington has to do for the next two days if they are to be the winners of the Hockey Goes On contest that is going to put $100,000 into one Ontario community and $20,000 in four others as part of the Kraft Foods promotion that is celebrating the way minor hockey is played across Canada.

John McNeil was nominated from Burlington and has been getting this community lined up to click away.

All eight of  Burlington’s McDonalds  restaurants have  joined the campaign and are promoting the contest. The Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association (BLOMHA) has every parent they can find going on-line and voting.

Kristen Priestner, the woman who nominated John McNeil is busy working her magic and reaching out to the masses.

John McNeil, nominated as one of twenty people in Ontario to take part in the Kraft Foods Hockey Goes On contest that could bring $100,000 to the city for minor hockey. He will be going hat in hand for the next two days asking everyone he sees to go on line and vote.

McNeil will be at his keyboard for as long as he can – but he has to drive his son’s team to London for a game there.  Perhaps they will all have tablets and find a way to get on-line and vote as they drive to London.  McNeil is a techie – he just might figure out a way to do that. McNeil, who doesn’t let much get past him, has the people in London voting for Burlington.  London didn’t make it to the finals in the Hockey Goes On contest.

All this activity – and guess what?  The server went down and was down for close to half an hour.  There must have been dozens of people at Kraft scrambling around like crazy to solve the problem – but it dd get solved and the game goes on.

Just vote and vote and vote and vote.  If you can teach your cat to read and type – do that and have it vote as well.

Click for the link.


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Is there a real # 1 out there for us? We will know by Monday. Want to help make it happen? Read on.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 22nd, 2013   There is an opportunity for the people of this city to bring home a “real” #1plus $100,000 that will go to the Burlington Lions Optimists Minor  Hockey Association – BLOMHA.

Have you heard of “Hockey Goes On” a promotion sponsored by Kraft Foods?  A number of years ago Kraft sponsored an event that resulted in Dundas,  Ontario getting a new arena.  The event was so strong a promotional vehicle for Kraft that they decided to revise it and build on the enthusiasm for “our game’.

Hockey Goes On is there to celebrate those unsung heroes that make the game go on. The sponsors divided the country into five divisions with Ontario being one of them.  People within each division were asked to nominate the person they felt had done the most for minor hockey in their community.

Kristen Priestner nominated John McNeil who manages the Burlington Atom A  BLOMHA rep hockey team that skate under the Bulldog banner.  Priestner’s son plays in that league.

Kraft got in touch with McNeil to ensure he would accept the nomination and onto the list he went.

The Kraft organization then took the thousands of names that were nominated and selected 20 for each division.  McNeil made the cut and Kraft once again called him to ensure that he was prepared for all the news coverage there would be.

McNeil was up to it.

The T-shirt tells it all. John McNeil wants everyone in this city to let 19 other communities in Ontario be aware of the Burlington Bulldogs – they are out there gunning for the $100,0000 that Kraft Foods wants to hand out to a minor hockey association.

Now McNeil doesn’t actually play hockey, he wishes he had,  but he missed that sport for the most part.  His job with BLOMHA, the Burlington Lions Optimists Minor Hockey Association is to handle everything “off  ice” as he puts it.  He has  coaches galore that he works with; his job is to ensure that everything comes together – which he apparently does so well that Priestner put his name forward.

Burlington was now about to see just how well McNeil hustles.  He plans to use all the old marketing skills he has along with everything social media will let him do.  Can McNeil pull it off?  Will the city get behind this initiative and pull in the $100,000 Kraft Foods is putting on the table?

First thing he did was get to the media; then he put out calls to all the other sports organizations in town and ask them to support McNeil and BLOMHA.

The prize is well worth the effort.  Kraft will donate $100,000 to BLOMHA which McNeil hopes gets used to cover the costs of the kids who can’t afford to play hockey – “it can get expensive” said McNeil.  Besides the $100,000 top prize there are four $20,000 prizes

CBC recently reported that the average family with kids in hockey spend $1,000 per child on fees and equipment.  For McNeil getting those kids whose families just can’t afford that amount – this is a big deal.  He would like to see some of the money spent on upgrading equipment the organization already has and then spend money on upgrading the skills of  both the coaches and the players.

If you’re within five feet of John McNeil he will put one of these flyers in your hands and badger you to log into the Hockey Goes On web site and be part of the effort to bring $100,000 to BLOMHA

Flyers have gone out to anyone who will pass them out.  McNeil asked the Mayor to mention the event on his blog.  Teams of kids will be at the BLOMHA offices on Saturday working the computers and voting as often as they can.  “We want them there in two-hour shift” said McNeil.  There will be all the pizza they can eat.

McNeil realizes that the other communities will be doing exactly the same thing – looking for every possible angle to get anyone and everyone logging in and voting  – and voting – and voting.

Burlington is up against Stittsville, Goderich, Atikokan, Barrie, Renfrew, Verona, Sarnia, Weston, Langton, Moose Factory, Kitchener, Prescott, Napanee, Pelham, Amherstview, Lakefield, Cornwall, Brampton and Fergus.

Some of those smaller town have great community spirit.  Is theirs greater than Burlington?  We will know sometime next week.

There is a website link to the story on the work he does with his team and minor hockey in Burlington This is where you vote.

This is what you are looking for on the voting web site. It will be red when you get to it on Saturday morning. Vote early and vote often – as often as you like.

In the upper right hand corner you will see a button – it will be red when the contest starts

So from 9am this Saturday,  March 23 to midnight Sunday,  March 24, you can vote as many times as you can. Help bring this funding to the kids. All it takes is clicks.

John McNeil is leading this push – he’s the guy they nominated so he is the guy Burlington wants to push over the top; it’s almost like dialing for dollars.

First thing Saturday morning you go to the web site – look for that red button in the upper right hand corner and click.

Log out and go back in and click again – and just keep on clicking.  There is no limit on how many times you can vote for McNeil.

John McNeil was described by Priestner as “the “Manager Extraordinaire” of the Major Atom A Burlington Bulldogs (BLOMHA) of the Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario. John is the heart and soul of our team and what he gives back to hockey you must see with your own eyes to believe! He is the epitome of a true sports fan. He lives, eats, and breathes Bulldogs!

“His level of organization is second to none. Parents new to the team this year will constantly question if he is “for real”. His weekly emails and reminders are full of detail. He maintains a phenomenal website with up to date stats, team summaries and also takes fabulous photos to share. Tournaments are a thing of beauty with John’s attention to detail ensuring a fantastic experience for every family and never a worry.”

“Social events for the team are hosted at John’s place, the highlight being the Parents’ Christmas Social until the wee hours. Or, arranging a party bus for parents to attend a “Cupids for Cancer” fundraiser. John truly never misses a trick. A highlight for the boys came in the form of John McSanta, distributing some serious Bulldogs swag Christmas presents at a super fun team Christmas party.”

“His level of dedication is witnessed when he is the first to arrive at the rink to hang our team banners or the last to leave and clean up. He is a critical fundraiser for the team with contacts galore. In case he didn’t have enough responsibility, he is also organizing the illustrious Ontario Hockey Federation Playoffs which we are hosting this year.”

“I can’t honestly believe that John ever has time to do his day job, given that he seems to give every hour of his day to this team. When we won the Alliance provincials last year, John surprised the boys by setting up an NHL style dressing room with their names posted over their hooks and motivational signage. They were thrilled! He continuously goes beyond the call of duty and we appreciate the care and kindness he provides to our boys! John’s heart barks for the Bulldogs!”

That from one parent: Let’s see how loud Burlington can bark for McNeil.

That website link again.


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Chilly Half Marathon floods the downtown core and brings traffic to a halt on Lakeshore Road.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  March 6, 2013.  It was close to perfect weather for a solid 5k run and Burlington was just the place to do it – along Lakeshore Road with either water on one side of the road or grand homes you could never afford to live in but are nice to look at on the other side.

The Chilly 5k is a commercial venture that brings 3500 + runners to the city.  They flood the downtown core and with the Performing Arts Centre open they had a place to store their gear while they ran.

Last year, when Mayor Goldring announced the start of the event he said in a rather grand voice that Burlington was the running capital of the province.

His statement was very close to the truth.  Burlington hosts the Chilly 5K and the Santa run.  Both draw thousands.  What kind of economic impact do these people have on the city?   Anyone driving through downtown Burlington Sunday afternoon would never have known there was a massive event earlier in the day – so it appears they don’t stay very long.  But while they are here – they take over the town.

Clearly an economic development opportunity here – if we could keep even a thousand of them in town for the balance of the day the merchants would feel the love as they say in the biz world.

Kune Hua, A cinema photographer with a sharp eye when looking through his lens and a fast hand in the editing room – expect to see more of his work in the city.

Kune Hua,  a cinema photographer with a very deft touch and an ability to catch the mood of an event.  He appears to have a fine eye and a very practiced hand in the editing room.  Hua, who has done some excellent work for the city in the past, decided he wanted to capture this event and spent the day out on the street with his camera.

This piece of film along with others he expect to be doing are being collected under his What’s Good in my Hood collection of videos that will be featured on Our Burlington and other platforms Hua is developing.

He is currently marketing his services to the commercial markets and has created a number of packages that fit different budgets and cinematic needs.  This is a fellow worth watching.

The race, more of a mixture of young people who really want to race and thousands of others who are out for the day.   While Lakeshore is a lovely location there are others in the city that are just as pleasant to use and less intrusive in terms of traffic flow. No word yet on just how much was raised for the Joseph Brant Hospital.

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This comes with your Canadian passport – natural ice in a natural setting – tax free.

By James Smith

BURLINGTON, ON  January 27, 2013  This is as Canadian as it gets – folks taking advantage of the cold to play shinny on the storm water retention pond on the north side of North Service Road just west of Guelph Line.

Coincidentally the same weekend as the start of the Last Burlington Winter Carnival.

With a game being played on one ice pad parents remove surface snow for a second pad.  Who said the Winter Games couldn’t be played this year?

I loved finding wild ice and playing shinny or just going for a skate when was a kid in Montreal and Etobicoke. These games always seemed more satisfying than our organized hockey league games. When my kids were little, we made our way to the marsh in Bronte several times for this kind of skating  fun.

One could say something cliché about how this is oh so Canadian, but heck, it really, really is!

There’s just something wonderful about people without a whole lot of planning  taking advantage of an impromptu situation and making the most of it. These kids will remember this experience all their lives.

My only quibble is this is a busy stretch of roadway, & is a little dangerous, pity there’s no place to park other than the shoulder of the road. I do hope the City Parking Storm Troopers don’t get wind of this!

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Santa parade crowds were smaller. BTTB was out in force and the Ho ho man was smiling away.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON          December 3, 2012  The weather certainly wasn’t promising.  It has rained much of the morning but the people that make parades happen were determined and they apparently knew something most weren’t certain about – and that was that there wasn’t going to be any rain on the 2012 Santa Claus parade.  And except for a drop or two – there was no rain.

The trick was to find a place where all the chairs could be set up and have a clear line of sight. This family was working it out.

Burlington is just at the half way point with the United Way donations – short close to $1 million. Need to up our game.

The crowds were much smaller and except for a couple of snow men in the parade and a fat little snow man on the Sound of Music float blow bits of snow into the air, there were no signs of winter either.

Burlington Transit put their most festive bus into the parade. The language doesn’t matter – the message is still the same.

While the weather wasn’t great most people put up with it – these guys weren’t happy though – they were wet and they wanted to go home.

Burlingtonians are a hardy lot and they were out on the street, wrapped in blankets with plastic rain slickers at the ready and an umbrella just in case there was a down pour.

The parade started at the Burlington Mall, worked its way down Guelph Line to New Street then west along to Brant and north to Caroline.  Then home for hot chocolate.

They fill the street and they are Magnificent to look at – Burlington’s Teen Tour Band

The Toronto Maple Leafs put their traveling dressing room into the parade. For those who were around in 1967 – the float had some meaning.

The Salvation Army is there for the good times and during the hard times. The parade was one of the Good Times.

The M M Robinson high school band, good form, great discipline and a habit of rushing a crowd.

Miss Magnolia danced up a storm every step of the way.

The wind was getting the best of this Christmas clown but he held on.

Not a snow flake in the air to keep Mr. Snowman company.

They were young, they were energetic and they were all over the street – having a great time.

Saxophones added to the sound – it was jingle bells all the way!

You would want a glove on that right hand – the metal would be cold but the music was just fine.

McMaster University’s band wasn’t taking any chances – they all were plastic slickers. They’ve been through this kind of thing before.

We sometimes lose sight of what the Season is about. Did parents watching the floats pass by use the opportunity to spread the message?

Notre Dame Secondary Catholic school’s Fighting Irish were out in force with a festive look.

The Ho Ho Ho man himself. The commercial reason for the season.

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