NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
NOJHL NETWORK MEDIA UPDATE
Release Date: Friday, Sept. 1, 2017
NOJHL team preseason preview: Powassan Voodoos
SUDBURY, Ont. – Coming off a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League title in just their third year of operation, the Powassan Voodoos have lost a few key pieces from their championship-winning side from last season, but the club still boasts a plethora of talent that has the potential of taking it all again.
Gone is head coach Scott Wray who earned a well-deserved promotion up to the staff of the Voodoos’ Ontario Hockey League affiliate the North Bay Battalion with Beau Moyer stepping in to take his place behind the Powassan bench.
Among the players that have moved on are NOJHL most valuable player Nate McDonald, who was dealt to the Whitby Fury of the OJHL and playoff MVP Parker Bowman, who recently inked a major junior agreement with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Despite that two-time NOJHL CCM first team general manager Chris Dawson has helped formulate another Powassan line-up that is expected to compete every night and be among the league’s top teams.
Last season the Voodoos boasted a NOJHL-best 46-7-2-1 record for 95 points and were an impressive 12-0 in the playoffs en route to their initial league crown. They were also ninth in the final Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 rankings for the 2016-17 campaign.
Beginning where they left off last season they are already 2-0 in exhibition play heading into a Friday matinee at home vs. French River.
Here’s some thoughts from GM Dawson and new head coach Moyer on the Powassan Voodoos in this the sixth of 12 NOJHL team preseason previews.
Head Coach – Beau Moyer
General Manager – Chris Dawson
NOJHL: What are your expectations for the club heading into the 2017-18 season?
CHRIS DAWSON: We already have a hashtag #defendthecup for our Twitter account. The group of returning players want to win another NOJHL title and then take another step forward by getting to and winning the Dudley-Hewitt Cup and then to the RBC Cup.
NOJHL: Give us your thoughts on what you’ve seen on-ice sessions and what you expect to see in future skates, be it practice scrimmages or games.
BEAU MOYER: It’s great to have such a great core group bring such a solid effort early on in training camp and preseason. They have done such a tremendous job welcoming the new players. The group has brought lots of intensity and were very attentive to new details and structure.
NOJHL: Who are a couple of returning players you expect big things from?
CD: I think we are expecting big things from the line of Ryan Theriault, Tyson Gilmour and Brett Hahkala. They were arguably one of the top units in the league last season. We also expect a lot from Gary Mantz, who is our highest returning scorer. On the back-end, two-time NOJHL all-star Eric Nagy will be relied upon heavily, while NOJHL all-star Dayton Murray will log big minutes for us and is one of the top power play weapons in Junior A hockey.
NOJHL: Who are some newcomers you’ve signed that you’ve been impressed with early on?
CD: Forwards Aaron Dickson and Harrison Israels hit the ground running at training camp. They both have lots of skill and should fit right in with our offense right from the start of the year. Dickson is a hard-shooting forward who netted 31 goals and added 25 assists for 56 points in 59 games with the Toronto Marlies major midgets last year. As for Israels, he played for the Mississauga Senators major midget AAA team last season. He had 16 goals along with 12 assists in 31 GTHL regular season games last season.
NOJHL: Beau, how have things progressed since being named head coach of the Voodoos?
BM: Things have progressed in a great way thanks to the great support of management and ownership. Having such a strong core group and the additions we have made make it very exciting to come to the rink every day with this group.
NOJHL: What are you looking to build upon after last year’s impressive season and what goals do you have heading into the campaign?
BM: Build on the winning culture. Not worrying about the end results but following the process of development will allow us to have a successful season.
NOJHL: Any final thoughts you’d like to provide.
BM: It will never be ‘My way or the highway.’ It will be what the group will do as a whole to be successful. I’ve never been one to really key in on wins and losses early in the season. It’s more about developing players, allowing them to make mistakes and then putting them back out there. If everybody learns their lessons by the month of January, then everybody should be playing their best hockey down the stretch. It’s a special group. They were one of the youngest teams in junior hockey last year and the success that they had is pretty impressive. I saw the team play at least 30 to 35 times last season. I know the roster up and down. I have knowledge of the league and what to expect.
Aug. 30 @ French River (8-4 Win)
Aug. 31 vs. Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) (4-3 Win)
Sept. 1 vs. French River 2 p.m. (Sportsplex)
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