Volume 91, Issue 71

Wednesday, February 4, 1998

sock it


Denomme: Unveiling the masked man

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
GET THOSE ICE PACKS READY, I'M STOPPIN' A BIT OF RUBBER TONIGHT. Doesn't everyone wonder what goes through a goalie's head while the puck is at the other end of the rink? This season though, Mustang netminder C.J. Denomme has been as sharp as a whistle.

By John Dinner

Gazette Staff

C.J. Denomme is the backbone of the Western Mustang hockey team. Using the experience of a storied career, he has shown throughout the season that he can put the team on his back when necessary and carry them to victory.

Fascinated with goaltender equipment, Denomme began his career as early as he can remember. "When I began, players would rotate in and out of net, but any chance I got, I would volunteer."

And so began the career for the London native, which has taken him across Ontario – bringing him success and accolades everywhere he's gone.

Growing up, Denomme was a big Toronto Maple Leafs fan, idolizing the play of Mike Palmateer and little-known Czechoslovakian goalie Jiri Crha. From there, Denomme developed his unorthodox style that has resulted in being given the nickname 'Sizzling Bacon.'

"You eventually get used to his style," veteran rear guard Cam Law said. "Guys like myself and Joe [Cook] are real comfortable with him back there. He's a tremendous goalie."

Epitomizing the ideal student athlete, Denomme stays quite active outside of the ice rink. In addition to his studies and team responsibilities, he works 10-15 hours a week as a goalie coach for a minor hockey team in Belmont and has his own show, Cheap Seats, on CHRW and TV Western.

Applying for teachers college next September, he hopes one day to teach at the elementary school level. However, Denomme has not given up on a pro career and still has aspirations to play in Europe. "More for the cultural aspect," he said.

Prior to Western, Denomme played three years in the Ontario Hockey League, two seasons with the Kitchener Generals and one with the Ottawa 67's. He was then drafted into the National Hockey League by the Detroit Red Wings, but he chose not to sign with the Wings and returned to London to play professionally in the Colonial League and then in Dorchester of the Senior A league, both which eventually folded.

A mainstay with the 'Stangs since his arrival, Denomme has been one of the keys to Western's late surges. "He's picked up right where he left last year," team captain Joe Cook said. "We've gotten phenomenal goaltending all year."

Denomme has also received praise from opposing coaches, in particular after he stopped over 40 shots each in two games against Waterloo and Guelph. After both games, each coach pointed to Denomme's exceptional play as the reason their teams were unable to come out victorious.

"When a goalie dominates like Denomme did tonight, we're just glad to get the point," Guelph head coach Marlin Muylaert commented after last week's tie.

Ranking sixth in the nation in goals against average, Denomme has quietly put together one outstanding game after another and has put the 'Stangs within striking distance of the first-place Windsor Lancers. With a home-and-home series beginning tomorrow night at Thompson Arena against the Lancers, Denomme will have a chance to continue his exceptional season and carry his team to a possible first place finish.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998