Few locals on 2012-13 edition of junior hockey club
They are called the Hamilton Red Wings, but this season’s edition of the Ontario Junior Hockey League team contains only three players from the Hamilton area, possibly the fewest in team history.
“To put people in the stands you have to win,” said Red Wings president and general manager Robert Turnbull, who has recruited a large number of 18, 19 and 20 year-olds from the Greater Toronto Area for the 2012-13 campaign.
Turnbull said the Red Wings always try to recruit local players and they hope to line up two or three affiliate players with the Stoney Creek Warriors this season.
Veteran junior hockey coach Dan Cameron has been brought in as head coach.
“We want to be all out relentless pursuit with controlled aggression,” said Cameron, who will be joined behind the bench by associate coach, Scott Elliott, who was the Red Wings’ head coach last season.
Here’s a look at the Red Wings’ 2012-13 roster.
The bulk of the puck-stopping chores will fall on the shoulders of Jason Pucciarelli, a 19-year-old netminder who comes to the Red Wings from the Newmarket Junior A Hurricanes.
“He’s going to play until he drops,” said Cameron of Pucciarelli, who hopes to land a hockey scholarship at an American university.
Jake Rennie, a 17-year-old, who toiled with the Toronto Marlies of the Greater Toronto Hockey League last season, is the team’s other goalie.
Big and bruising is the best way to describe this seasons corps of defenders as most of the blueliners are six-foot plus in size.
Spencer Hyman and Harrison Domagala are the only returnees from last season.
They will be joined by: 18-year-old Stoney Creek resident and Hamilton Junior Bulldogs graduate Jason O’Connor; 18-year-old Alex Labrosse, who played with the GTHL Toronto Marlies last season; 17-year-old Braxton Andrews, who comes to Hamilton from the Junior C Dundas Blues; Kurt Gottschalk, a hard-hitting 20-year-old who played with the (now suspended) Markham Waxers Junior A franchise last season; 17-year-old Lucas Inglis, who played with the South Central Coyotes of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association last season, and is, at six-foot four and 215 pounds, the largest player on the Red Wings’ roster.
Back from last season are Luke Laidlaw, Nick Scamurra, Oliver Hyman, Liam Bird and Adam Brady.
The new faces are: 20-year-old Jordan Merante, who played with the Junior A Vaughan Vipers last season; 20-year-old Adam DiBrina, a Sudbury resident who played with the Markham Waxers last winter; Troy Crema, a 17-year-old from Mississauga who led the now defunct Brampton Capitals in scoring last season with 15 goals and 14 assists; 17-year-old Niko Porikos a resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan joins the Red Wings from the major midget Victory Honda team of the Tier 1Elite Hockey League; 17-year-old Aaron Spivak comes to Hamilton from the South Central Coyotes of the OMHA, 17-year-old Harrison Luce, a Strathroy area resident and grandson of Buffalo Sabres alumni Don Luce, played with the St. Thomas AAA Stars last season; 16-year-old Keagan Blasby, a sixth round pick of the OHL Kitchener Rangers comes to the Red Wings from the Markham Majors minor midget AAA club and Kyle Brothers, who played with the Lambton junior squad last season.
The Red Wings are expected to add another player or two through the season and they plan to have an additional 10 skaters and two goalies as affiliate players with other minor and junior organizations in southern Ontario.
Nineteen-year-old Spencer Hyman, son of team owner Stu Hyman, is the Red Wings’ captain.
“What we did is we put all the names in a hat and then Stu went in and emptied the hat and there was only one name left which was Spencer,” joked Cameron. “Actually (Spencer) is a good choice…I think the players like him.”
DiBrina, Laidlaw and Scamurra are the assistant captains.
The Red Wings open the 2012-13 season with two games against the Burlington Cougars.
The first game is in Burlington on Saturday, followed by the Red Wings home opener on Monday at the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.