NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013
2013-14 Team Previews: North Bay Trappers
SUDBURY – The seventh of eight Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League team previews heading into the opening weekend of regular season play features the North Bay Trappers
While technically North Bay is the home of the defending NOJHL champions, this edition of the Trappers is vastly different to the one that won the title in 2012-13.
With last year’s North Bay franchise having relocated to Espanola, under new ownership and front office leadership, the Trappers will look to once again return to be among the elite clubs in the NOJHL.
Joining David Beauchamp, the club’s new owner and president, in building a new franchise is the affable and knowledgeable Chris Dawson, who moves from his team president’s role from a year ago to serve as the Trappers general manager and director of hockey operations.
Then there is first-year bench boss Zane Neily who will serve as head coach.
One of the few holdovers from North Bay’s championship team is goaltender Dustin Hummel.
The local product was reacquired by the new Trappers franchise from the original one that moved to Espanola in the off-season.
Dawson likes the experience and leadership Hummel offers after going 6-4 with a 2.81 goals-against and a .898 save percentage in 2012-13.
“Dustin returns to us as the starting goaltender,” said the North Bay GM. “He brings tremendous leadership and is well respected amongst his teammates. We believe the experience of playing last season under first team all-star Greg Dodds will help him take that next step forward to become a solid goaltender in the NOJHL.”
Heading into the start of the 2013-14 campaign the Trappers will look to bolster their line-up with the recently agreed upon affiliation agreement the team reached with the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League.
One of the early dividends of that affiliation is highly-touted Battalion prospect in goaltender Evan Cormier, a 2013 fifth round OHL Priority Selection of the OHL club.
Despite only 16 years of age, Dawson feels the six-foot-two, 176-pound Bowmanville, Ont. native will be a tremendous compliment with Hummel.
“Evan is a player who we identified as we worked on our affiliation agreement with the OHL’s Battalion, said Dawson. “He is arguably the top goalie in his age category in the province and we hope he develops to become a key part of the North Bay Battalion in the future. We have seen guys like Ken Appleby (Oshawa, OHL) and Team Canada World Junior team member Jake Paterson (Saginaw, OHL) come in and develop in our league at 16 and we feel that Evan has a bright future and will follow their path.”
Up front, Jake Staples, is a five-foot-11-inch, 170-pound speedy and skilled forward who was a second team all-star in the Great North Midget League last season. He also made his mark in the preseason leading North Bay in offensive numbers with six points, all assists.
The ’95 birth-year skater recorded 21 goals and 30 assists for 51 points in 33 games with the Midget AAA Trappers and was an affiliate player the past two seasons with the Jr. Trappers.
Also at forward North Bay will feature diminutive, but skilled Columbus, Ohio native Zach Turner.
At five-foot-seven, 165 pounds, Turner notched 32 points in 45 games with the Wooster Oilers of the Minnesota Junior Hockey League last season.
“We like the intensity Turner brings to the ice every shift,” says Dawson. “We expect him to lead by example and contribute offensively and away from the puck as well. He has a great work ethic that is contagious.”
On the back-end Alex Dajia is a physical defender who will enjoy the smaller comforts of West Ferris Arena.
The six-foot, 220-pound Stouffville, Ont. product recorded four goals and seven assists in 27 games with the Markham Waxers AAA midget squad last season.
“I am really impressed with his patience with the puck,” commented Trappers head coach Neily when discussing the 1995 birth-year blueliner.
After beginning their regular season tonight in Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay continues their road swing with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday in Blind River.
Their West Ferries Arena home debut is set for next Friday as the Espanola Rivermen make their first-ever appearance in a 7 p.m. start.