2013-14 - Rogers Goes Out a Winner

Photo by Chester Murawski, SNAP Niagara Falls

Michael Rogers is a case study in leadership.

The RiverHawks Captain, and Richmond Hill native, put a fitting and memorable exclamation point on his legacy with the club by winning the Coaches Unsung Hero Award for the 2013-14 season.

Rogers then delivered a poignant and touching speech to his teammates, coaching staff, front office personnel and volunteers at the RiverHawks Year End Awards Banquet held at Mick & Angelo's Eatery in Niagara Falls.

Rogers was completely dedicated to the RiverHawks' organization which afforded him a chance to play high level organized hockey during his college years.  Rogers gave back to his team by improving every year he was with the RiverHawks, becoming a crucial on-ice fixture in any situation the RiverHawks encountered.

After being named Captain in his second year he grew into that role by becoming the perfect liaison between the coaches and the players.  He was a leader by example and always played as hard as he could, right up to and beyond when his back gave out just before this year's opening playoff round.

Most importantly, Rogers showed initiative beyond the basic on-ice demands of a leader, as he identified the need for a culture change within the team room, as the club which was stationed near the bottom of the standings during his first year with the team. Rogers was willing to provide it, and set a new team standard along with some of the other key veteran players..

Rogers acknowledged his connection with teammates Colin Dunne, Curtis Sauve and Luke Brackett, and their desire to create a positive and enduring culture change for the club.  This year embodied that change, as the club challenged for first place throughout the majority of the regular season, and showed marked growth in camaraderie amongst the players.

The team's early exit, was disappointing in light of the challenges they had met and exceeded during the regular season, but symbolically the team, like Rogers' back, would not hold up during the stretch run and into the playoffs.

That setback could frustrate anyone closing out their career.  Rogers simply stated that if anyone asked him if it was worth it - the answer is a resounding "YES!".   He implored his younger teammates to be grateful everytime they step on the ice, for it is a privilege to play.

Rogers highlighted some of the life lessons he learned as a member of the RiverHawks, and promoted the value of the Junior Hockey experience,  "The Gale Centre became my home away from home and was loaded with new friends and family for me."

Most fittingly, he summarized what it now means to be a RiverHawk player.  "I would rather lose with this team, then win it all elsewhere", said Rogers to his emotional teammates to perfectly close the book on his memorable career in Niagara Falls.

The RiverHawks mattered to Rogers, and he mattered to the team.  Just like his speech, he has left a lasting impact on the RiverHawks organization for seasons to come ... a new leadership standard to be met in the future.

Could any leader hope for anything more?

2013-14 RiverHawks of the Month

Goaltender Colin Dunne was a two time winner of the RiverHawks Player of the Month Award in 2013-14

January 2014 >  Colin Dunne  G

Dunne was the steadiest RiverHawk during the team's final month and first round of the playoffs

December 2013 > Wade Kenny F

Kenny had 5 goals and 8 assists for 13 points in 8 games during December

November 2013 > Colin Dunne G

Dunne was an impressive 4-2-1 during November with a stellar 2.97 GAA, and a .926 save percentage

October 2013 >    Curtis Sauve  F

Sauve started the season red hot with 8 goals and 8 assists for 16 points in the first 12 games of the year

Players were awarded 2 lower bowl seats for a Buffalo Sabres game compliments of principal sponsor Amedeo Condotta of Condotta Merrett Insurance.

2013 - Auld Wins Austin Sportsperson of the Year Award

The Condotta Merrett Insurance RiverHawks are proud to congratulate team Vice President of Hockey Operations Winston Auld on being the 2013 recipient of the Doug Austin Sportsperson of the Year Award.

Auld was presented with the award by Review Sports Editor Cory Smith at the City of Niagara Falls' Volunteer Recognition Evening.

For full coverage, please check Cory's article at:

2012 Moustache Bash Ceremony & Shave Off - $16 000+ Raised

Photo by John Oddi

From Left - Joe Maggiolo [GNGH], Tony Picca [Sponsor], Dr. Ian Brown [GNGH], Michelle Harder [Cdn Cancer Society], Joe Roma [Nick Roma Fund], Fred Sacco [Owner]

The Condotta Merrett RiverHawks were pleased to disperse the proceeds generated during November's 2012 Moustache Bash to deserving local charities.

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Moustache Bash coordinators and volunteers, a substantial donation over $16,000 was made to various health related services and initiatives in the Niagara Community.  Funds were raised through the game day jersey auction, the moustache shave off challenge between owner Fred Sacco and sponsor Tony Picca [Moustache Bash Ceremony & Shave Off] , a portion of ticket sales and donations collected during the event.

The money was made available to the Nick Roma Fund [$1000], the GNGH Urology Equipment Drive [$2000] and the Canadian Cancer Society [$13,300].

On hand for the ceremony were John Roma [Nick Roma Fund], Dr. Ian Brown [Niagara Health Services & GNGH] and Michele Harder [Canadian Cancer Society] as well as City Councilor Wayne Gates.