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Cherrey on top: Goalie having whirlwind season with Listowel Cyclones

'You can’t complain about being at the rink with your buddies,' says Innisfil native Riley Arts, who has Sutherland Cup in his sights

For 18-year-old Riley Arts, hockey is not just a game that he loves, it’s in his blood.

His grandfather played professional hockey in the Netherlands and his father’s cousin was in the NHL.

“I just loved the game since I was young,” Arts said.

He started skating at two years old, joined a team at four years old, and was never forced to practise or play.

Continued dedication and love of the game are necessary because Arts is the goaltender for the Listowel Cyclones in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) B Loop. 

“We’re on the ice pretty much every day — especially now in (the) playoffs," he said. 

Arts and his teammates won their division championship, called the Cherrey Cup, on April 12.

“That was a big moment for our team,” he said.

The Listowel Cyclones will compete in a tournament that begins with a round-robin of the league’s top three teams. It will be the first time that Arts will compete in the Sutherland Cup, which is named after James Thomas Sutherland, referred to as the "father of hockey in Ontario," by the GOJHL.

Listowel opened the Sutherland Cup round-robin on Friday night against the Fort Erie Meteors and came away with a 6-1 victory, with goaltender Dixon Grimes notching the win for the Cyclones. 

The Cyclones will face the St. Marys Lincolns tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Listowel will meet the Meteors again on Wednesday, April 24 before facing St. Marys for a second time on Sunday, April 28.

The Sutherland Cup final will pit the top two teams from the round-robin tournament against each other with the storied trophy up for grabs. 

Barrie has won the Sutherland Cup on three occasions, including 1993, 1950 and 1935. A local squad also made it to the final in 1944, 1938 and 1937.

Arts is a graduate of Goodfellow Public School and Nantyr Shores Secondary School of Innisfil.

“It’s such a nice town. I’m happy that I have the opportunity to live here," he said.

As a fellow Canadian, Arts is proud of Sidney Crosby’s success with the Pittsburgh Penguins and he models his game based on the play of Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, who is five-foot-11 . 

At five-foot-eight, Arts is one of the few goalies in a GOJHL under six feet.

When asked about his height, he said that it motivates him. 

“I don’t think I’d be as hard a worker as I am right now," Arts said. 

His efforts have been recognized as he was selected as the GOJHL goaltender of the month for December.

“That was my first time getting goaltender of the month,” he said.

Arts told Village Media that his goalie platoon partner was injured, so he played more games than usual over that stretch and was able to prove himself.

Arts was also the co-recipient of the Twin Cities Trophies Award for lowest team goals-against average in the Midwestern Conference.

“It was a big honour to win with my goalie partner (Grimes),” he said. “I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.”

In 25 games, Arts had 18 wins and five shutouts.

“The defencemen help me out,” he said. “You have to have a good team in front of you.”

After another two years in junior, Arts’ goal is to play hockey in the NCAA.

Though he has always been interested in firefighting, he plans to study business. While playing hockey remains his priority, Arts said he may find a business based outdoors in the future.

“It’s awesome to help people and stay active,” he said.

For now, the Listowel Cyclones continue to forge ahead in the playoffs.

“Our coaches put in so much work. You can’t complain about being at the rink with your buddies," Arts said. 

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Amber Green

About the Author: Amber Green

Amber is a freelance journalist with InnisfilToday. Dedicated to the craft of writing, she is a storyteller at heart who writes novels, poetry, and short stories. She lives in Innisfil.
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