The History of the Upper Ottawa Valley Aces AA Hockey Association
The idea of a AA hockey association in the Upper Ottawa Valley was first broached during a conversation between two friends who just happened to be competitive hockey coaches, Mike Bradbury and Keith Roach. That discussion in December 2006 led to a proposal with District 5 concerning the running of a Minor Bantam AA team for 1994 birth year players. Next, the one year pilot program gained approval from the Ontario East Minor Hockey League (OEMHL) and finally from the Ottawa District Minor Hockey Association (ODMHA). This signaled the birth of the Upper Ottawa Valley Aces.
The next step was to name the association and the team, to pick the colours, to design a logo and to build an executive. But even before these steps could be completed, it was decided that part of the association’s goals would be to not only make it competitive on the ice, but also to make it a straight-shooting and reputable association off the ice. Thanks to the countless hours put in by the original members of the executive the Aces’ constitution was written, adopted and then endorsed by District 5. Now a logo and team colours had to be decided. Two of the original players, Sam Schutt and Colin Bradbury, came up with the idea for a logo with a World War 2 bomber dropping pucks out of its belly. It was thought that this logo displayed the Upper Ottawa Valley’s commitment to the military and its attachment to CFB Petawawa. The name “Aces” was then adopted to reflect the courage and skill of those soldiers who proudly and selflessly manned both fighters and bombers during World War 2. Originally, the association was to be named the Ottawa Valley Aces but the word “Upper” was soon added to show that the association was indeed based in Renfrew County. The colours, blue and white, were the suggestion of Keith Roach and were to be based on the jerseys of the Sudbury Wolves. These colours lasted, in principle, until 2012 when they were altered slightly to blue, light blue, grey and white, to match the new jerseys of the Winnipeg Jets.
Since the inaugural season of the Aces in 2007, the organization has continued to flourish, hoping to eventually boast a full line-up of seven teams from Major Atom to Major Midget. The original Minor Bantam 94’s continues to set the bar for the rest of the association. In the team’s first year it won the playoffs. In its third year, it was ranked the number #1 AA team in the province for the entire season.
Despite the relatively young age of the Upper Ottawa Valley Aces, a number of its alumni have been drafted in both the Central Junior Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League. This clearly demonstrates the Aces’ commitment to developing highly skilled and well-rounded athletes. While many of the original members of the Aces’ executive have since moved on to other activities, they should be proud of what they helped to create. Their original vision has helped to forge the path for the current and future success of the Upper Ottawa Valley Aces AA Hockey Association.