NOJHL team preseason preview: Rayside-Balfour Canadians

SUDBURY, Ont. – Coming off a 28-win campaign in 2016-17 under a new ownership and coaching staff, the Rayside-Balfour Canadians will be looking for even better results this season in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play.

Led by owner Adrian Geyde, head coach and general manager Dave Clancy along with director of hockey operations Grant Trayner, the Canadians’ roster boasts a solid mix of returnees and newcomers heading into the start of the regular season.

One player they will have to replace in forward Cayse Ton who signed on with the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The 18-year-old from New Liskeard, Ont., had a team-best five playoff goals, including two game-winners, in the most recent league postseason. Ton also tacked on 43 points in the regular season on 15 markers and 28 assists in 53 outings.

Rayside-Balfour also has a large number of other players currently at major junior camps.

Last season’s NOJHL rookie of the year Kyle Liinamaa led RBC in scoring with 53 points in 2016-17 while Matt Neault topped the club in playoff numbers with eight.

Here’s a look at the eighth of 12 NOJHL team preseason previews, which features the Rayside-Balfour Canadians.

Head Coach/GM – Dave Clancy

NOJHL: What are your expectations for the club heading into the 2017-18 season?

DAVE CLANCY: With this being our second year with our new ownership group and coaching staff we are looking to build on the teams’ philosophy of bringing in players who are looking to move onto the next level and have great character on and off the ice.

NOJHL: What have you’ve seen from the team in your on-ice sessions and scrimmages and what expectations do you have for the year?

DC: Our expectation for our club is to continue to build on the success we had last season in which we were very happy with how we played as a team. We lost a close playoff series with Blind River. Our players are learning about the sacrifices they need to make, not only on ice, but also off ice and how big chemistry is to a winning team. Our training camp went well with a good number of players fighting for positions that we have available. Along with our camp we had a scrimmage with French River and did well. We have 8-9 players attending OHL training camps and then we will see where we are once these players have either stayed with their clubs or are returned to Rayside.

NOJHL: Who are a couple of returning players you expect big things from?

DC: A couple of returning players we are expecting big things from are Evan Krassey, who is a strong power forward but also is a player who we feel can put big numbers up this season. Another player we feel will have a strong season if he is returned to Rayside is defenceman Jordan Spadafore. Jordan is a player who had a very good playoff last season and we are looking for him to continue to grow his game.

NOJHL: Who are some newcomers you’ve signed that you’ve been impressed with early on?

DC: Two players who we are extremely excited to have join our team this season are Ethan Lavallee and Brady Maltais both local players who are ready to take the next step. Both of these players played for the Nickel Caps last season and made strong contributions to their team.

NOJHL: What do you try and instill in your players, especially the ones making the jump to Jr. A?

DC: The thing I try most to instill in my players are to have a good work ethic on and off the ice and that team chemistry is one of the biggest factor in a team’s success. We are always looking for quality young men who are able to manage their time between being a part of the community and being a hockey player.

NOJHL: What goals do you have heading into the start of the regular season?

DC: Last season was a good first year for our franchise under our new ownership and we look to build on that this season.

NOJHL: Do you have any final thoughts on your club?

We have a number of good returning players and our scouting staff did a good job in identifying a number of good additions to our roster. As always our goal is to put a winning team for our fans to cheer for.

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