Local Hockey Fever/Slammers Camp
Today Angee told me kids go back to school in two or three weeks. I was a bit dumbfounded thinking summer has gone by really fast. But the end of summer does have some positives…particularly that hockey is just around the corner.
When hockey comes to mind here a lot of people start thinking about the Woodstock Slammers. As it is with junior hockey there are usually a lot of changes for teams each year and the Slammers this year will be a lot different. Looking at their training camp roster just 9 players are coming from last years squads and there will be some big holes to fill.
Last year’s three leading scorers and starting goalie have all moved on to the next stage of their hockey careers with Alex Beaton committing to play for Acadia University in the AUS, Nick Huard choosing Nispissing University in North Bay, Ontario and just announced Marco Devaux will head to Antigonish to play for St. F.X.
Defenseman Doug Jessey and goaltender Alex Scola are going south of the border to play college hockey, Jessy in Division I at Canisius College, and Scola in Division III at UMass Boston.
Other players moving on to college or university hockey are Eric Bonawitz and Phillip Teri.
Woodstock did make a number of acquisitions in the offseason and it appears as though the 2011-2012 edition will be a bit bigger and tougher which will make for an exciting brand of hockey. I personally thought the Slammers got pushed around last year in the final against Summerside so some added size could do this team a world of good.
More than 45 players have been invited to Slammers camp which starts on August 26th and it will be interesting to see how five local kids fair during that camp.
Amongst the locals invited are Jared Demerchant of Gordonsville who last year led the New Brunswick Midget AAA League with 57 points in 30 games including 31 goals and 26 assists while adding 50 minutes in penalties. Demerchant should be a guy to watch as he’s a bigger body 6’1 and 195 lbs. and having played ball hockey against him I know personally the kid has some skill.
Another interesting prospect is Mackenzie Brown of the Tobique First Nation who was drafted by the Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL draft this summer. Brown finished with 7 goals and 16 points for the Fredericton Canadians of the NB-PEI Major Midget AAA League, but was second in league scoring during the playoffs. He could find his way on to the roster if he doesn’t make the Saint John Roster and decides not to return to Major Midget.
6’1 Defender Ryan Paul of Hartland will also be at camp. Paul recorded 4 goals, 8 assists and 33 minutes in penalties playing for the North West Midget AAA Bulls last season.
Another Bulls defenseman, Jake Lamoreau will be at camp as well. The 5’11 Centreville native put up 3 goals and 22 points in AAA last season to go along with 26 penalty minutes.
It will also be interesting to see Woodstock native Alex Murray in camp. Murray led the NB-PEI Major Midget League in scoring two years ago and spent last season playing at Kents Hill Prep School in Maine.
All in all it will be fun to see how this team shapes up over the next month and hopefully we’ll have some local boys to cheer on.
I’ll see you all there opening night when the Slammers host the Miramichi Timberwolves on September 16th.
Follow me on twitter – www.twitter.com/paulb_71