The Morrisburg Junior C Lions are preparing for the 2016-17 season in the National Captial Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) with the opening of training camp on August 16th.
This is the second year the Lions have played in the NCJHL and hope to improve on their inaugural season record.
“Moving to the NCJHL, we were handicapped”, said Kevin Casselman, general manager and co-owner of the Morrisburg Junior C Lions.
“We lost seven to ten of our players from our last season at Junior B, and we weren’t allowed to keep any of our 21 year old players from that season.”
The Lions finished the 2015-16 season with a 3-31-0 record, last in the league.
“It takes a little time to rebuild from the move. Were we happy with the record from last year, no. Do we, as an organization, feel we have addressed our issues from last year in order to move forward, yes. ”
Offence production was identified as one of the deficits last season with just 56 goals scored by the team.
“We didn’t come up with a timely offence.”
The training camp will start at the Benson Center in Cornwall until the ice is in at the Morrisburg arena.
“Of course we’d love to have the entire camp in Morrisburg, but the ice is not available until September 12th,” stated Casselman.
There have been a few changes with the team staff. Joe Hummell is returning for his second season behind the bench. Joining Hummell are returning associate coach Andrew Wensink and new associate coach Mike McManus. McManus was with the Winchester Hawks last year.
Bert Marcellus joins the team as the new head trainer, also formerly with the Hawks. Chris Harrington is assistant trainer and equipment manager for the team this season.
The team expects to have between five and eight goalies for tryout, nine to 13 defensemen and nine to 27 forwards.
“We have a list of players in the region we have talked to,” said Casselman.
“Our goal this season is to be a contender for the playoffs.”
Training camp begins on August 16th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Benson Center, Ice Pad 3. Camp continues August 23rd before a pre-season exhibition game against the Gananoque Islanders in Gananoque on September 11th.
Camp continues in the Morrisburg arena September 13th before hosting the Islanders in another pre-season game September 14th.
Training camp costs $100 for new players, $50 for returning players. All players will receive at least three sessions and an inter-squad game. The training camp fee helps defer the cost of the ice time and other team expenses.
The team opens the regular season visiting the Vankleek Hill Cougars on September 24th in the league’s opening showcase.
The Lion’s home opener is October 1st, with the Lions hosting the North Dundas Rockets.