McDonald building speedy, young squad
The Hamilton Red Wings will have three 16-year-olds in the line-up this season.
“With us rebuilding, it’s important that we go with a youth movement” said head coach John Mc Donald.
The Red Wings have signed 16-year-olds Connor Bramwell, Josh Chiarot and Cole Poliziani.
Bramwell, a St. Jean de Brebeuf student and Hamilton Huskies’ grad, is hard-nosed forward that can score.
Chiarot is a six-foot four 225 pound defenceman from Hamilton who is expected to get lots of attention from NCAA scouts in the coming years.
He is also a Hamilton Huskies’ grad and 11th round draft pick of the OHL North Bay Battalion.
Poliziani is a fast-skating forward from Burlington who played with the AAA minor midget Guelph Storm last season.
While Ontario Junior Hockey League teams normally carry two 16-year-olds, McDonald noted the league permits teams to swap cards for 16-year-olds as long as the total number of 16-year-olds in the league does not exceed 44.
The Red Wings picked up the additional 16-year-old card fromKingston and McDonald said they will likely reciprocate in the next year or two.
Hamilton has also signed 17-year-olds Corey Caruso and Brandon Kolasaki and 18-year-old Cory Foster.
Caruso is a forward who attends Sherwood Secondary School.
He played major midget hockey in Burlington last season.
Kolaski is a six-foot two, 190 pound defenceman from Binbrook who comes from the junior C Glanbrook Rangers.
Foster is a goaltender who attends Bishop Ryan high school in Hamilton.
He is back in Canada after playing with Fresno Monsters of the Western States Hockey League where he appeared in 17 games, with 12 wins and five losses, three shutouts, 2.39 goals against average and a .897 save percentage last season.
McDonald said he was hoping to trim the roster to 22 or 23 players by Thursday night’s final preseason game against Orangeville slated for 7:30 p.m. at the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena.
Going into tomorrow night’s game, the Red Wings are unbeaten in preseason action.
They beat the Cougars 4-1 in Burlingtonon on Tuesday and scored 4-2 wins over Burlington and Oakville and had a 2-2 tie with Orangeville in the past couple of weeks.
“We tried to schedule as many preseason games as we could because we know we’re going to have a lot of kids that are inexperienced, so we want to try to give them as much experience as we can before the regular season,” McDonald said.
“John’s putting together a physical team, a speedy team,” said Red Wings’ captain Jason O’Connor, who noted McDonald has been running high-tempo practices.
The 18-year-old Cardinal Newman student, who was expected back on the ice this week after a lower back injury earlier in training camp, said he is looking forward to the “fresh start” after last season that saw the club win only five games.
O’Connor said he plans to lead by example on and off the ice.
“If something needs to be said in the dressing room, I’ll for sure step up and say something,” he said.
The Red Wings open the 2013-14 season against the Cougars in Burlington on Sept. 7 and host the Cougars in their home opener at 7:30 p.m. on Sept 9.