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YEAR IN REVIEW: Big sports moments in 2017

In this April 2, 2017 file photo, members of the Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises CeeBee Stars gather around the Herder Memorial Trophy following a deciding 4-3 victory over the CWSHL champion Clarenville Caribous in Game 5 of the provincial senior hockey championship in Clarenville. Less than seven months after been winning the Herder, the CeeBees find themselves without a league, meaning they won't operate in 2017-18.
The Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises CeeBee Stars had an up-and-down 2017. - SaltWire Network

There are plenty of great athletes young and old in the Trinity-Conception-Placentia area, and we've shared many of their stories this past year within the Compass' pages.

From the high-and-lows of the CeeBee Stars’ year in senior hockey to the exploits of two athletes competing overseas in an international competition, this region produced compelling drama on and off the playing fields.

To cap off the year in sports for 2017, the Compass has compiled a summary of what we've deemed to be the five biggest sports stories of 2017.

Telegram file photo/Glen Whiffen — In this file photo, Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises CeeBee Stars goalie A.J. Whiffen raises his arms in celebration amid dejected members of the Clarenville Caribous at the conclusion of Game 5 of the 2017 Herder Trophy provincial senior hockey championship in Clarenville. Just months after winning the Herder, the CeeBees found themselves without a game when they were given the boot from the Avalon East Senior Hockey League by the other four teams in the league. In fact, the AESHL came to no longer exist in 2017 as the four remaining members formed a new senior circuit, the East Coast Senior Hockey League.
Telegram file photo/Glen Whiffen — In this file photo, Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises CeeBee Stars goalie A.J. Whiffen raises his arms in celebration amid dejected members of the Clarenville Caribous at the conclusion of Game 5 of the 2017 Herder Trophy provincial senior hockey championship in Clarenville. Just months after winning the Herder, the CeeBees found themselves without a game when they were given the boot from the Avalon East Senior Hockey League by the other four teams in the league. In fact, the AESHL came to no longer exist in 2017 as the four remaining members formed a new senior circuit, the East Coast Senior Hockey League.

1. CeeBees win Herder, left out of senior hockey: The Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises CeeBees Stars proved the Avalon East Senior Hockey League could produce a team competitive enough to face off against the best the Central-West league had to offer. The team claimed the Herder Memorial Trophy in thrilling, yet controversial fashion, thanks in part to a goal that went under the back of the net. A few months later, the CeeBees found themselves without a league to play in, with the four other Avalon East team leaving to form a new league. Hockey NL subsequently rejected an attempt by the CeeBees and others to reboot the AESHL as a senior A league with two new teams.

SEE RELATED:

'Lack of CeeBees hockey action not good for businesses'

'CeeBees can't find a game this season'

'CeeBees to the CWSHL? That's not what they want, says team president'

'CeeBee Stars win Herder Trophy in Game 5 thriller'

Crystal Young, left, and Sandra Smith both medaled at the Special Olympic World Winter Games in Austria.
Crystal Young, left, and Sandra Smith both medaled at the Special Olympic World Winter Games in Austria.
 

2. C.B.N. Special Olympians medal in Austria: Snowshoers Sandra Smith of Carbonear and Crystal Young of Harbour Grace had an amazing experience at the Special Olympic World Winter Games in Austria representing Canada. Smith won a pair of gold medals and one silver at the games, while Young collected two gold medals. The Tri-Con Gentle Giants Special Olympic Club teammates received a warm welcome upon returning to the Conception Bay North area. The home municipalities of Smith and Young eventually recognized each of them by naming roadways in their honour.

SEE RELATED:

'Harbour Grace street renamed in honour of athlete Crystal Young'

'New sign, ramp name to honour Sandra Smith'

Daniel Cleary officially completed his career as a hockey player in 2017 on a Grand Rapids Griffins squad that claimed the AHL championship.
Daniel Cleary officially completed his career as a hockey player in 2017 on a Grand Rapids Griffins squad that claimed the AHL championship.

3. Danny Cleary retires from pro hockey: While he didn't dress for any games in the 2016-17 season, Harbour Grace native Daniel Cleary remained active as a player with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. Working with players behind the scenes, Cleary helped the team claim the league championship. After officially retiring from hockey, the former Stanley Cup champion accepted a position with the Detroit Red Wings as a co-director of player development. He retired from hockey as the Newfoundlander with the most NHL games ever played in both the regular season and playoffs.

SEE RELATED:

'Daniel Cleary's keeping tabs on the kids'

'Danny Cleary makes a unique exit as a player'

'Danny Cleary erects plaque to remember coach Dick Power'

Members of the Laval High School female senior basketball team: (front, from left) Kaiden Whyte, Lauren Kelly, Mackenzie Leonard-Power, Brooklyn McCarthy, Abby Gambin, assistant coach Kendra Whyte; (back) Robyn Culleton, Emily Foley, Amber Barron, Emily O’Keefe, Hillary Neville, Raven Ralph and coach Melanie Whyte.
Members of the Laval High School female senior basketball team: (front, from left) Kaiden Whyte, Lauren Kelly, Mackenzie Leonard-Power, Brooklyn McCarthy, Abby Gambin, assistant coach Kendra Whyte; (back) Robyn Culleton, Emily Foley, Amber Barron, Emily O’Keefe, Hillary Neville, Raven Ralph and coach Melanie Whyte.

4. Laval High claims four provincial titles: It was a big sports year for Placentia's Laval High. Multiple teams representing the Grades 7-12 school claimed provincial banners. In March, the girls basketball squad claimed the 3A title in Deer Lake. The boys and girls ball hockey teams both claimed 3A provincial titles in the spring, with the boys doing so for the third straight year. Finally, the girls softball team was dominant on the field in October, cruising their way to a 4A banner. Some of the school's female athletes were part of all three championship teams.

SEE RELATED:

'Laval girls claim provincial 4A softball championship'

'Placentia, Carbonear high school succeed at provincials'

'Placentia high school three-peats at boys' hockey provincials'

'Laval high win AAA basketball tournament'

Dawson Mercer of Bay Roberts puts on a Dummondville Voltigeurs jersey after being taken by the Voltigeurs with the eighth overall pick of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft in Saint John, N.B., on Saturday. Mercer, who attended, and played hockey for, a Quebec prep school last season, was the first of three first-round picks by Drummondville.
Dawson Mercer of Bay Roberts puts on a Dummondville Voltigeurs jersey after being taken by the Voltigeurs with the eighth overall pick of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft in Saint John, N.B., on Saturday. Mercer, who attended, and played hockey for, a Quebec prep school last season, was the first of three first-round picks by Drummondville.

5. Dawson Mercer selected in 1st round of Q-draft: Dawson Mercer was ranked highly by scouts heading into the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's entry draft. There was ultimately no disappointment for the Bay Roberts native on draft day, as the Drummondville Voltigeurs made Mercer a top-10 pick, eighth overall. The 16-year-old had 16 points in 30 games as of Dec. 22. The Voltigeurs also drafted his cousin, Zachary Bennett of Bay Roberts, and the Halifax Mooseheads selected Kyle Petten of Coley's Point in the same draft. Both players earned roster spots in training camp.

SEE RELATED:

'Dawson Mercer to player for Canada at World Under-17 Hockey Challenge'

'Three players from Bay Roberts area earn spots in Quebec league'

'Three Conception Bay North players selected in QMJHL draft'

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