With 11 goaltenders, 12 defenceman and 26 forwards in camp, Morrisburg Junior B Lions general manager Kevin Casselman, says the coaching staff has some tough decisions ahead.
The Lions opened their 2013 training camp in Spencerville, two weeks ago, on Sunday, August 18.
Their training camp schedule runs until this Sunday, September 8 and when it is ended they will have been on the ice 11 times, seven of them in pre-season games.
“We’ve had a great turn out with approximately 50 players,” says Casselman. “With all of the late season moves we made last year, it really left us with just eight veterans returning to camp, and another seven players attending who finished the season with us as late arrivals or affiliates. That puts our returning number at approximately 15 players.”
Also returning this year, for his second season is head coach Dan Frawley. New to the bench are associate coach Andrew Scott and assistant coach Mark Evans.
“We have been very pleased with the quality of the camp,” says Casselman. “The coaches were very busy in the recruitment stages, and now have some very difficult decision to be made within the next week.”
Casselman says Lions fans will certainly be seeing some added size and speed in the lineup this year.
Overagers in camp include Drew Veenstra and Michel Lefevbre, both of whom were with the Lions last season. (Lefevbre did get a late season release for playoff purposes, but remained Lions property.)
Riley Nicolaasen who was signed late last year is looking for a roster position as is Brandon Chaffe who was acquired in a trade with the Westport Rideaus.
A very welcome return as an overager is former Lion Christian Leger who now has three seasons of Junior A experience under his skates having played with both Ottawa and Gloucester.
Veteran goaltender Ryan Cooper is in camp along with John Gilmer who was affiliated to the Lions last season while playing AAA Major Midget with the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Rockland.
Goaltender Brandon Chilton from Moose Factory, Ontario has ‘looked good in camp’ along with Robert Weidman from Quebec and locals Zach Frawley (South Dundas Minor Hockey), Ryan Troutman, Liam O’Donahue and Eric Mantha.
Looking to reclaim their spots on the blueline are Sam Hodgson and Drew Veenstra.
Ty Hodgson from Morrisburg, who started last season with the Lions, before moving to play AAA with the Upper Canada Major Midget Cyclones is also on the ice.
New to the camp are Dan Fyckes (6’ 2” from Norwood, New York), Zach Belaire, 6’2” right-hander (played last year with AAA Major Midget Ottawa Sens), Evan Mantha (16-year-old Cornwall Colts draft pick) and local prospect Kristian Palmer (6’4”).
From Morrisburg comes 16-year-old Andrew Jarvis. Protected by the Brockville Braves, Jarvis has been returned from the Braves ‘for a season of development.’ A smooth skater, ‘Andrew brings a heads-up style of play’.
Looking for spots up front are returning players Clark Veenstra, Taylor Eamon, Nicholas Pilon, Michael Paquette, Ryan Dunbar and Zach Seguin.
Local player, Shane Woolsey (Iroquois area) is looking good. A 16-year-old, Woolsey was protected by the Kemptville 73s Jr. A and has been returned to the Lions for development.
The Lions are also looking at two Americans, Tyler Young from Massena and Robbie Scott from Potsdam.
Also still in camp are Isaac Brownlee and Peter Ketcheson who gained experience last year, Alex Kidd of Ottawa, Patrick Picard from Hearst, Ontario, Harry Wyss of Russell, Brian Landry of Cornwall, Kyle Adams of Morrisburg and Brandon Mullin.
The Junior B Hockey season is now just one week away from opening.
The Lions will kick off their schedule on the road, when they take on the Alexandria Glens in their barn on Friday, September 13 at 8 p.m.
For their home opener, the Lions will host the Winchester Hawks on Saturday, September 14. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
The Lions coaching staff will be looking at the players in pre-season game tonight (Wednesday) September 4 against the Brockville Tikis at the Brockville Memorial Centre, and again this Saturday, September 7 at the Benson Center in Cornwall, when they host the Stittsville Royals at 3 p.m.