Once again, Bonino shares the Stanley Cup with fans, friends, family at AOF

For the second straight year, Farmington native Nick Bonino shared the Stanley Cup with the fans for a few hours at Avon Old Farms.

AVON, August 20 – A year ago, Farmington native Nick Bonino had the Stanley Cup for day – the long-standing tradition in the National Hockey League for players on teams that capture the Stanley Cup championship.

“I think I had it for 10 minutes,” he said with a grin Sunday.

It was a whirlwind day last year as Bonino took the Stanley Cup to multiple locations – his parent’s home, his grandparent’s home, a golf course, the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford and to Avon Old Farms where thousands of fans stood in line for hours for the opportunity to take a photo with Bonino and the Stanley Cup.

Bonino’s Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup for the second straight year in June, beating the Nashville Predators, to become the first team to win back-to-back championships since Detroit in 2008 and 2009.

Once again, Bonino brought the Cup back to Avon Old Farms for fans to see and to raise money for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford. But he adjusted the schedule a bit. He planned another trip to his grandmother’s house to snack on her legendary pasta salad and then bring the Cup to a big, backyard party at a friend’s home.Continue Reading

At Lobster Loop, Sparks wins, Leavens repeats, hundreds honor late Gordon Keller

Riley Keller (137) leads his mother, Alyson (133), in the final 100 meters of Sunday’s Lobster Loop road race in Canton. More than 100 runners dressed in red raced to honor the late Gordon Keller.

CANTON, August 20 – Canton High senior Max Sparks said he hasn’t been running too much this summer – only about 10 to 15 miles a week. It was enough to race away with a convincing victory at the 26th annual Lobster Loop road race in Canton Sunday morning.

Sparks ran away early and beat Karl Schilling, the former Canton High All-American soccer player, by 46 seconds. In the women’s race, Avon High senior Sara Leavens, the youngest woman to win the race a year ago at the age of 16, won for the second straight year with a 21 second win over East Hartland’s Kathleen Shaw.

But the biggest story of this race was the sea of red sprinkled throughout the field of over 460 runners that ran the 3.1 mile race. More than 100 runners donned bright red jerseys with the logo of the comic book character The Flash on the front running in memory of the late Gordon Keller, the Canton and triathlete who died in a tragic cycling accident in June.Continue Reading

Collinsville man sings national anthem before Connecticut Sun game

Collinsville’s Mark Shaker sings the national anthem before Friday night’s WNBA game at the Mohegan Sun Arena between Connecticut and New York.

UNCASVILLE, Aug. 18 – Collinsville’s Mark Shaker sang the national anthem before the start of Friday night’s WNBA game between the visiting New York Liberty and the Connecticut Sun at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

It’s nothing new for the Canton native and Master’s School graduate who has been singing the national anthem at a host of sporting events in the Northeast over the past few months.

Shaker sang the national anthem for the first time at Cameron Indoor Arena before the Duke men’s basketball team hosted Michigan last November.Continue Reading

Malloy would reduce dramatically redistribute school aid in October

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy

If no state budget has been approved by the General Assembly, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy would reduce grants to school districts by 28 percent in October and would dramatically shift funding away from wealthy and middle-income communities and into poorer ones, the Connecticut Mirror is reporting.

Absent a new two-year state budget, the governor’s plan would eliminate Education Cost Sharing funding entirely for 85 school districts including Avon, Canton, Simsbury, Farmington, Granby and Burlington and reduce funding somewhat for another 54 school districts. Grants to the 30 lowest-performing school systems, also known as Alliance Districts, would remain unchanged.

Simsbury would lose $6.0 million in school funding and Granby would lose $5.5 million. Burlington ($4.3 million), Canton ($3.4 million), Farmington ($1.0 million) and Avon ($731,000) would lose all of their Education Cost Sharing funding.

Malloy affirmed an earlier warning that hundreds of millions of dollars in non-education grants won’t be released this fall unless the General Assembly adopts a new budget for this fiscal year and next. Read more in the Connecticut Mirror.

Charles, Liberty teach Sun a lesson about playoff-type intensity in 12-point victory

Former UConn and Sun star Tina Charles moves to the basket for two of her game-high 24 points as the New York Liberty beat the Connecticut Sun, 82-70, Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

UNCASVILLE, August 18 – It’s been five years since the Connecticut Sun played in the WNBA playoffs. The New York Liberty presented the Sun with a little lesson on the intensity they will probably see there in this year’s WNBA playoffs.

A relentless Liberty squad pulled down dozens of rebounds and former UConn and Sun star Tina Charles took over to lead New York to an 82-70 win over Connecticut at the Mohegan Sun Arena Friday night. Charles had a team-high 24 points but had 18 in the second quarter when she hit six of eight shots from the floor and drained six of seven foul shots.

Not only did the Sun (18-10) have their six-game winning streak snapped but New York (16-12) outrebounded Connecticut, 46-35 and destroyed the Sun on the offensive glass with a 36-6 edge in rebounds. Connecticut shot a season-low 34.3 percent from the floor.

Liberty rookie Sugar Rodgers had 13 points while former UConn guard Bria Hartley had 11 for surging New York, which beat defending champion Los Angeles on Sunday by 14 points.Continue Reading

Whale selects four forwards in 2017 NWHL draft

Connecticut selected Brown forward Sam Donovan with the fifth pick in Thursday’s NWHL draft. (Graphic courtesy Brown University)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – With a look toward the future, the four teams of the National Women’s Hockey League held their 2017 draft Thursday night. The Boston Pride selected Boston College goalie Katie Burt with the No. 1 pick in the draft while the Connecticut Whale selected four forwards.

None of the 20 players selected in the five round draft should have a significant impact upon the upcoming season since they are all entering their senior season in college. The 2017-18 NWHL campaign begins on October 28.

Boston selected Burt with the No. 1 pick in the draft that they acquired in a trade from Connecticut when the Pride sent forward Zoe Hickel to the Whale last February. Burt has posted a record of 61-7-5 in her first three seasons with the Eagles.Continue Reading

Avon is bigger, stronger and more experienced for 2017 campaign

The Avon High football runs through drills in Wednesday’s preseason practice at the high school.

AVON, August 16 – The Avon High football team took it on the chin a year ago. The Falcons were young and inexperienced. They lost their first eight games – their longest losing streak in over a decade.

After nine consecutive winning seasons, Avon went 1-9 a year ago under first-year head coach Sal Cintorino.

On Tuesday, the Falcons were working out in the sunshine at the high school in the third day of preseason workouts in preparation for the season opening contest against East Catholic at home on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. – the first of three straight home games to open the season.

The Falcons are bigger, stronger and more experienced. The youngsters who got plenty of experience and dropped some close games in 2016 are ready to go this fall.Continue Reading

CCC makes slight adjustments in six football divisions

Windsor High senior Tim Gardner-Russaw ran for a career-high 204 yards and 5 TDs to help Windsor beat CCC rival Middletown in the Class L semifinals last December.

AVON – With the departure of Rockville and Weaver from the Central Connecticut Conference this fall, the CCC has made some slight adjustments in their football divisions.

The CCC still has six divisions. There are 10 teams at the Division I and III levels with 11 teams in Division II.

Avon remains in Division III East but gets a new opponent – the co-op team from Bulkeley, Weaver and Hartford Magnet Trinity Catholic Academy (HMTCA) that replaces Rockville, which left for the NCCC.Continue Reading

Sun beat Atlanta for sixth straight win

Curt Miller, Connecticut’s general manager and head coach, has seen his team with six straight games.

ATLANTA, Ga., August 15 – The Connecticut Sun played like a team going to the WNBA playoffs and a team that hopes to contend for a league championship. On Tuesday night, the Sun took care of business early in a 96-75 rout of short-handed Atlanta.

 
Missing former UConn guard Tiffany Hayes – their leading scorer, Atlanta struggled to keep up with Connecticut. The Sun raced out to an early 10-0 lead just 1:43 into the contest and led by as many as 19 points in the first half. In the second half, they led by as many as 31 points as Sun coach Curt Miller cleared the bench.
 
Connecticut (18-9) had six players in double figures led by Jonquel Jones with 20 points and 13 rebounds in just three quarters of action. Jasmine Thomas had 18 points and four assists while Courtney Williuams scored 12 points. Alyssa Thomas had 10 points and six assists.

Continue Reading

Canton player earns spot on New England team that plays in USA Baseball tourney

Canton’s Sean Tessman made Team New England that participated in a USA Baseball 13-and-under tournament this weekend in North Carolina.

CANTON, August 13 – Sean Tessman, a Canton Middle School student, was selected to play on the New England team that participated in the USA Baseball 13-and-under national training identification series (NTIS) in Cary, North Carolina this weekend.

The series is a comprehensive player identification program offered by Team USA. Tessman participated in two tryouts. He made it through a tryout consisting of players from Connecticut and was selected for Team New England after attending a tryout with players from Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

The series included four games and a combine to allow the participants to show off their hitting and playing skills. From this NTIS tournament, 62 players will be selected to participate in future U.S. national team trials.Continue Reading

Canton’s Sarah Benedetti spent two seasons playing pro basketball in Ireland

Canton’s Sarah Benedetti played two years of pro basketball in Ireland.

CANTON — Canton High graduate Sarah Benedetti finished her second season of playing professional basketball in Ireland this spring and was one of five women to be named an All-Star in the women’s Division I league – second-tier professional league in the country.

This past winter, Benedetti played for the University of Limerick Huskies, who went 9-3 and finished second in the league. They advanced to the league semifinals before losing to eventual league champion Marble City Hawks, 60-57, despite a game-high 21 points from Benedetti.

Benedetti led Division I league in scoring, averaging 24.2 points per game. She pulled down 9.6 rebounds a game and averaged 37.7 minutes a game for the Huskies. One of her better games of the season was a 32-point effort against Oblate Dynamos, including sinking five of nine shots from three-point range.Continue Reading

Avon’s Madison Kennedy wins 50 free at U.S. Open championships

Avon’s Madison Kennedy won the 50 freestyle at the U.S. Open championships Sunday. (Photo courtesy USA Swimming)

EAST MEADOW, N.Y., August 6 – Avon native Madison Kennedy won the 50 meter freestyle at the U.S. Open championships Sunday at the Nassau Aquatics Center.

Kennedy, 29, was the only swimmer to go under 25 seconds with a time of 24.92 seconds, just 0.02 off the meet record of 24.90 set in 2009 by Jessica Hardy.

It was Kennedy’s fastest time of the season and the 25th fastest time in the world this season in the 50 freestyle.Continue Reading

UConn’s Dailey to receive Margo Dydek Award from Sun on August 8

UConn’s Chris Dailey will receive the Margo Dydek Award from the Sun on August 8.

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — The Connecticut Sun will honor UConn women’s basketball associate head coach Chris Dailey with the Margo Dydek Award as its 2017 Woman of Inspiration on Tuesday, August 8, when Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm return to Mohegan Sun Arena.

 

An iconic figure in women’s basketball, Dailey recently completed her 32nd season with UConn, teaming with head coach Geno Auriemma to build the Huskies into a national power. She will participate in a pregame reception and honored at halftime. In her name, a $1,000 donation will be made by the Connecticut Sun Foundation, through the Travelers Championship, to the Jay S. Fishman Fund at the Bruce Edwards Foundation to help find a cure for ALS.

 

The Margo Dydek Award, named after the former Sun center, is given to an outstanding woman who has distinguished themselves while positively impacting the local community. Previous recipients of the award include Suzy Whaley, the Professional Golf Association (PGA) of American vice president, M. Jodi Rell, former governor of the state of Connecticut, and Rebecca Lobo, the former WNBA star and Hall of Famer. Continue Reading

Connecticut Mirage outlasts Farmington to win Junior Division championship

The Connecticut Mirage outlasted Farmington, 21-12 to win the Junior Division baseball title in the Farmington Bank/Vantis Life league.

SIMSBURY, Aug. 3 – It wasn’t a championship game that will be remembered for its stellar play on the diamond. Thursday night’s Junior Division championship game in the Farmington Bank/Vantis Life baseball league had 16 errors.

But one item won’t be forgotten – the Canton-based Connecticut Mirage captured a championship with a 21-12 victory over defending champion Farmington. The Mirage had 16 hits in the game, including three each from Avon’s Jackson Chard, Simsbury’s Cayden Thomas and Simsbury’s Collin Crowe.

It was the first-ever Junior Division title (ages 14-15) for a Canton-based team in the league’s long history that dates back to 1946 when it was the Jaycee-Courant baseball league.Continue Reading

Trick or Trot road race set for October 28 in Collinsville on bike trail

Runners come across the railroad bridge at the second annual Burlington to Collinsville Classic in May.

CANTON, August 2 — A third road race in downtown Collinsville is scheduled to be held on Halloween weekend. Canton’s Dollars for Scholars organization will host the first Collinsville Trick or Trot on Saturday morning, October 28, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The 5K race (3.1 miles) will begin and finish near the Crown and Hammer restaurant along the Farmington Valley River Trail. Proceeds will fund local scholarships for the Canton Dollars for Scholars organization.

The event is a road race and fitness walk. All ages and abilities are welcome to participate. Not only will the top male and female finisher win an award but awards will be presented for the best Halloween costumes (adult, child, team) as well.Continue Reading