|League:||Central Hockey League|
|Home Arena:||Steve Yzerman Arena|
|Colors:||Red, Black, Grey, and White
|General Manager:||Randy Watt|
|Head Coach:||Darcy Findlay|
The Nepean Raiders are a Canadian Junior ice hockey team from Nepean, Ontario, Canada. They are a part of the Central Junior A Hockey League. The town of Nepean was granted expansion after the Cornwall Royals and the Hull Hawks left the CJHL for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Raiders started their operations in Nepean in 1972.
History[edit | edit source]
In only their third CJHL season in 1974–75, the Raiders made it to the finals against the Smiths Falls Bears, only to lose the series in five games. Nepean notably lost back-to-back finals against the Pembroke Lumber Kings in 1977 and 1978. In 1979, Nepean lost the sudden-death game 7 to the Hawkesbury Hawks, who won the CJHL title at the Sportsplex. The 1980–81 Nepean Raiders had a cast for future NHL stars Steve Yzerman and Darren Pang, whose team lost to the Gloucester Rangers in the 1981 CJHL finals. Yzerman went on to play for the Peterborough Petes, while Pang played for the Ottawa 67's. The Nepean Raiders fell on financial times, when the rest of the league was on the verge of bankruptcy with four other teams remaining in the league. The league was however saved after a meeting at the Talisman Hotel in Ottawa in 1984.
New blood was found in the Nepean Raiders with new ownership in June 1998, as Gord Black purchased the team. In 1999, Chris Byrne was hired as head coach and led the Nepean Raiders to their first finals in 22 years in 2003, after a second-round defeat at the hands of the Ottawa Jr. Senators from a year before. Nepean would wreak revenge on the Ottawa Jr. Senators in five games to win their first-ever Art Bogart Cup title. Nepean lost the Fred Page Cup finals to the Lennoxville Cougars 4–0. With a core of 13 returning players, the 2003–04 Nepean Raiders repeated their CJHL championship in 2004 over the Gloucester Rangers in seven games. The Raiders rallied from a 0–2 start at the Fred Page Cup, and defeated the Valleyfield Braves in the finals. Despite having a 2-0 start at the Royal Bank Cup, the Raiders lost their next two round-robin games, and lost the semi-finals to eventual RBC Cup champs Aurora Tigers.
With less than a dozen returnees, the Nepean Raiders finished the 2004-05 season only losing 9 games and finishing on top of the CJHL. However, during the NHL lockout, fan base doubled in the CJHL. The Hawkesbury Hawks made it to the finals against the Nepean Raiders, and the Hawks received coaching advice and pointers from former Avalanche coach Bob Hartley, which helped the Hawks beat the Raiders in seven games for their first title since 1999.
In 2005-06, Nepean built a strong rivalry with the Pembroke Lumber Kings. A rivalry in which has not developed between these two clubs since the 70s. With the Nepean Raiders down 3 games to 1 to the Brockville Braves, the Raiders climbed back to force game 7, rallied back from a 2-0 deficit, tied the game. With less than 5 seconds to go in the game, Nepean's Matt Valois poked in the rebound to secure the series win for the Nepean Raiders, leaving the Brockville Braves paralyzed wonder what could have been. Nepean came back against the Pembroke Lumber Kings, being down 3-1 and winning game 7 by a score of 5-1, but lost the finals to Hawkesbury.
With the loss prior to the 2006-07 season of head coach Chris Byrne, who took a coaching position with the Ottawa 67's, former Kanata Valley Lasers head coach Archie Mulligan to fill in the void. The Raiders finished 4th overall, and nearly avoided a first-round exit to the Orleans Blues. They won an easy series against Smiths Falls, but lost the finals to Pembroke in five games.
The 2008-2009 season saw the Nepean Raiders return to the top of the CJHL regular-season standings with the help of former NHL defenseman Garry Galley. Nepean would end up losing in the CJHL Finals to the Pembroke Lumberkings in 6 games. Two players off that year's team were selected in the NHL Entry draft that summer: Jeremy Price was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the 4th round and Ben Sexton was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 7th round.
Nepean came into the 2009-10 season with high hopes of becoming a championship contender, but in December 2009, the disagreements between new ownership and coaching staff resulted in the departure of Garry Galley. The team eventually found a replacement in Peter Goulet, who coached the Kingston Vees from the season before. The Raiders made the playoffs, but finished 6th and lost to the Cornwall Colts in six games.
The 2012-13 season saw the Raiders attempting to repeat as league champions against the Cornwall Colts in a rematch from the 2012 finals, but lost the series in 6 games. The 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons resulted in the Raiders being swept in the first round of the playoffs. The 2015-16 season marked the first time since 1994-95, that the Nepean Raiders last missed the playoffs. Possibly one of the longest playoff streaks in Central Canada Hockey League history.
2003 Fred Page Cup[edit | edit source]
- Lennoxville Cougars 5 Nepean Raiders 2
- Nepean Raiders 3 Charlottetown Abbies 1
- Cornwall Colts 3 Nepean Raiders 2 (OT)
- Nepean Raiders 3 Cornwall Colts 2 (2OT) semi-finals
- Lennoxville Cougars 4 Nepean Raiders 0 championship game
CORNWALL, ONTARIO: Nepean punched its ticket to their first Fred Page Cup with a 4 games to 1 win over the Ottawa Jr. Senators. The Nepean Raiders and the Cornwall Colts were rivals in the last three seasons. Nepean dropped their first game 5–2 to the LHJAAAQ's Lennoxville Cougars, who were only playing in their first season. Nepean won their second game against the maritime representatives Charlottetown Abbies, that would help the Raiders solidify a berth in the semi-finals. Lennoxville earned a bye to the finals, despite a 7–5 loss to the Abbies. Cornwall and Nepean prepared for an all-league tilt on the final day of round robin. Cornwall won the game 3–2 in overtime, despite that the goal shouldn't have counted because there were too many men in the crease area. The Raiders boycotted the players-of-the-game ceremonies because Colts fans threw cups and snack wrappers into the Raiders bench moments after Cornwall scored the game-winner. The Raiders did re-match with Cornwall in the semi-finals. Cornwall forced overtime on a last-minute goal. Brian Ruckwald of Nepean scored the game-winner with a wrist shot that found its way past Cornwall goaltender Christian Boucher.
2004 Fred Page Cup[edit | edit source]
- Valleyfield Braves 4 Nepean Raiders 0
- Saint-Eustache Gladiateurs 6 Nepean Raiders 4
- Nepean Raiders 3 Campbelton Tigers 1
- Nepean Raiders 3 Saint-Eustache Gladiateurs 2 (2OT) semi-finals
- Nepean Raiders 4 Valleyfield Braves 0 championship
SALLEBERRY-DE-VALLEYFIELD, QUEBEC: Nepean got added support by acquiring Gloucester Rangers goaltender Mitch O'Keefe, who's team was defeated in the finals by the Raiders in an exciting seven game series. O'Keefe got his second chance with the Nepean Raiders. The opening game for the Nepean Raiders faced the Valleyfield Braves, who went on to win 4-0, with the support of a sold-out crowd of Braves supporters. Nepean lost the second game to Saint-Eustache, and were in trouble of being eliminated. Luckily Campbelton lost to Valleyfield, and therefore Nepean had to win their last game against Campbelton, in which they did 3-1. Nepean then would go on to upset the Saint-Eustache Gladiateurs (ranked 5th in Canada) 3-2 in the semi-finals. Raiders captain Brennan Sarazin missed two games of the tournament due to exams at Carleton University and having a bad case of laryngitis. Sarazin arrived just in time for the final three must win games including the championship game, in which Nepean won 4-0.
2004 Royal Bank Cup[edit | edit source]
- Nepean Raiders 4 Nanaimo Clippers 3 (2OT)
- Nepean Raiders 2 Kindersley Klippers 1
- Grande Prairie Storm 4 Nepean Raiders 2
- Aurora Tigers 3 Nepean Raiders 1
- Aurora Tigers 7 Nepean Raiders 2 semi-finals
GRANDE-PRAIRIE, ALBERTA: The Nepean Raiders trailed 3-0 to the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL, before winning the game in double overtime as Raiders captain Brennan Sarazin netted the winner. The next day, the Raiders improved their record to 2-0 after a 2-1 win over the SJHL champions Kindersley Klippers. Chris Priolo scored for the Raiders twice. Nepean had a chance to improve their record to 3-0 against the Grande-Prairie Storm, but lost 4-2. Nepean would lose their last round-robin game to the top-ranked Aurora Tigers 3-1, despite that the Tigers lost to Grande-Prairie 4-2 earlier. Nepean looking to became the first CJHL team to make the Royal Bank Cup finals since its inception in 1996. Nepean would lose a heart-breaker 7-2, and Aurora would go on to win the Royal Bank Cup.
Season-by-Season record[edit | edit source]
|1978-79||48||36||10||2||-||305||187||74||1st CJHL||Lost final 4-3 to Hawkesbury|
|1994-95||54||10||38||4||2||214||326||26||10th CJHL||Out of Playoffs|
|1995-96||54||14||35||5||0||220||315||33||5th in Yzerman||Out of Playoffs|
|1996-97||53||27||23||3||0||232||223||57||4th in Yzerman||Lost quarter-finals 4-1 to Smiths Falls|
|1997-98||56||20||23||13||10||180||180||63||4th in Yzerman||Lost quarter-finals 4-1 to Brockville|
|1998-99||54||31||21||2||0||202||194||64||3rd in Yzerman||Lost semi-final 4-1 to Hawkesbury|
|1999-00||56||33||20||3||0||245||239||69||2nd in Yzerman||Lost quarter-final 4-1 to Kanata|
|2000-01||55||26||19||10||0||222||186||63||3rd in Yzerman||Lost semi-final 4-0 to Cornwall|
|2001-02||55||34||11||10||0||263||174||78||2nd||Lost semi-final 4-2 to Ottawa|
|2002-03||55||32||17||6||2||227||185||72||1st in Yzerman||Won league 4-1 over Ottawa|
|2003-04||55||37||14||3||1||229||144||78||1st||Won league 4-3 over Gloucester|
|2004-05||57||42||9||3||3||225||131||90||1st||Lost final 4-3 to Hawkesbury|
|2005-06||59||37||16||3||3||231||174||80||2nd in Yzerman||Lost final 4-2 to Hawkesbury|
|2006-07||55||26||21||6||2||178||165||60||3rd in Yzerman||Lost final 4-1 to Pembroke|
|2007-08||60||32||23||3||2||233||203||69||5th CJHL||Lost quarter-final 4-2 to Brockville|
|2008-09||60||42||12||-||6||261||145||90||1st CJHL||Lost final 4-2 to Pembroke|
|2009-10||62||33||26||-||3||250||217||69||6th CJHL||Lost Quarter-final|
|2010-11||62||27||25||-||10||207||227||64||6th CCHL||Lost Quarter-final 4-3 to Brockville|
|2011-12||62||46||11||-||5||269||159||97||1st CCHL||Won League 4-3 over Cornwall|
|2012-13||62||38||20||-||4||235||182||80||4th CCHL||Lost Final 4-2 to Cornwall|
|2013-14||62||27||24||-||11||189||225||65||7th CCHL||Lost Quarter-final 0-4 Smiths Falls|
|2014-15||62||23||35||-||4||169||215||50||4th of 6 Yzerman
10th of 12 CCHL
|Won Prelim. Round 2-1 (Bears)|
Lost Quarter-final 0-4 (Canadians)
|2015-16||62||23||33||5||1||156||198||50||4th of 6 Yzerman
10th of 12 CCHL
|2016-17||62||24||33||5||0||171||222||53||2nd of 6 Yzerman
8th of 12 CCHL
|Lost Quarter-final 1-4 (Canadians)|
|2017-18||62||24||32||2||4||170||201||54||5th of 6 Yzerman
10th of 12 CCHL
|Did Not Qualify|
|2018-19||62||12||47||3||0||123||272||27||6th Yzerman||Did not qualify|
|2019-20||62||11||48||-||3||148||279||25||6th Yzerman||Did not qualify|
Championships[edit | edit source]
- CJHL Bogart Cup Championships: 2003, 2004
- Eastern Canadian Fred Page Cup Championships: 2004
- CJAHL Royal Bank Cup Championships: None
Notable alumni[edit | edit source]
- Adrian Aucoin
- Jamie Baker
- Jeff Chychrun
- Grant Clitsome
- Rob Dopson
- Mike Eastwood
- Mike Eaves
- Stew Gavin
- Mike Meeker
- Tyler Moss
- Darren Pang
- Mark Paterson
- Dan Ratushny
- Keith Redmond
- Joe Reekie
- Travis Scott
- Larry Skinner
- Doug Smith
- Aaron Ward
- Steve Yzerman
[edit | edit source]
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