by: Tommy Wong
The Dudley Hewitt Cup is just around the corner. The Voodoos’ first game won’t be easy as they’re up against the defending cup champions, the Trenton Golden Hawks, a team who lost a heartbreaker in the Buckland Cup final as they were defeated 1-0 by the Georgetown Raiders in the 7th and deciding game of the OJHL championship Wednesday night.
However, the Golden Hawks feature two players that Powassan hockey fans are familiar with.
Lucas Brown, the Powassan native is currently playing his second season in Trenton. And former Voodoos forward Michael Silveri also enjoyed a nice season with Trenton, racking up 45 points in 53 regular season games.
Going into the 2016/17 season not many people believed Powassan would win the NOJHL title, much less make it to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup.
Only a select few players returned in Tyler Gervais-Rolfe, Bo Peltier and Eric Nagy, first team all-star Tyler Peters hung up his blades, while Silveri asked for a trade.
“Micheal wanted a change of scenery, asked to be traded to a team guaranteed to be in a championship as the Dudley-Hewitt Cup hosts,” said Chris Dawson, GM of the Voodoos.
“We were disappointed in his decision but frankly, we were very happy the way it unfolded as Brett Hahkala, who came back from Trenton in the deal, has been a great contributor to our program.”
Brett Hahkala recently put up 4 goals and 4 assists in 10 playoff games.
Silveri’s former teammate Tyler Gervais-Rolfe has no hard feelings about how the trade went down.
“Sil and I played on a line for a while,” noted Gervais Rolfe, who has been with Powassan since the team’s inaugural season in 2014-15.
“Sil has always been a high-end player with a lot of assets in his game. I haven’t thought about it (the trade) that much, just trying to stay focused on competing in game 1.”
And that appears to be the mentality of the Voodoos.
They are focused and want to bring the Dudley Hewitt Cup back to Northern Ontario.
Scott Wray, Head Coach of the Voodoos is also finishing out his third season with Powassan and he believes the team is ready for the cup.
Wray is familiar with winning. He scored the game-winning goal in game 7 of the Central Hockey League (now the ECHL) finals and led the Rapid City Rush to their first ever Ray Miron President’s Cup.
He believes there is a lot of similarities with his current team and the team he played for back in 2010.
“Everyone gets along on the team,” said Wray.
“When one of the players gets on another player’s back, by the next day, it’s over with. There’s no drama in the room, everyone hangs out, outside the rink and that’s what you want in a hockey team.”
It certainly won’t be an easy task for the Voodoos. Only one NOJHL team has won it all at the Dudley Hewitt within the last 10 years.
The Soo Thunderbirds did it twice in 2015 and 2012, respectively.
But then again, the Voodoos managed to prove just about everyone wrong this season.
So who’s to say they can’t do it again in Trenton?
The first game is on May 2nd as the Voodoos open up against Silveri, Brown and the rest of the Trenton Golden Hawks.
The Voodoos have also organized a fan bus for that game.
The NOJHL champs will also face the winner of the SIJHL, the Dryden Ice Dogs at 2:30 p.m. on May 3rd and then their final round robin game will be against the 2017 Buckland Cup champion Georgetown Raiders at 2:30 p.m. on May 5th.