Siskin Zack Trott signs with Soo Greyhounds
The suspense and intrigue for many Junior age hockey players, their parents, and the community are before us once again.
September is the month inspiring hockey players find out whether they made the team or not. For very few, making a team this September is the beginning of a future in the game forever; some will use it as an advancement to get a college education; others simply try to compete at the highest level possible; while many get the chance to enjoy hockey stardom in the local community.
Take Zack Trott, son of Bryan Trott, one of the greatest Stayner Siskins to ever lace up a pair of skates, he notched 35 goals and 32 assists in the Carruthers Division of the Ontario Junior C League as a 16-year-old for Stayner last season. His performance was recognized and subsequently, the Honeywood native was drafted by the Soo Greyhounds, 270th overall in the 14th round. Most would not have given the tiny pivot a chance to make a Major Junior A team but as of date he is still on the team and most importantly scoring and being noticed. Who knows where Trott will end up?
Steve Walker played one year of Major Junior A hockey before dropping several league levels to play with the Siskins. He ended up playing with Gordie Howe for goodness sake, albeit for only one game. Walker had a solid hockey career playing in the now defunct International Hockey and with Berlin Polar Bears, German Hockey League, where he starred. He now coaches professionally in Germany after a stint as head coach with the Siskins.
Former NHLer Jason Arnott got his Junior career started in Stayner. Remember him scoring the winning goal for the New Jersey Devils.
Siskin Ben Hughes, who led the league in scoring last season with 102 points, and defenceman Michael Holmes played in the OHL. Stayner became their team of choice last season because it offered the opportunity to win a championship with a group of long-time friends.
Defenceman Austin Fischer and forward JD Falconer reached the OHL Junior A Tier II level; Kevin Boyd, forward, played Junior B for several years: local boy Jordan Taylor briefly played with the Junior B Guelph Hurricanes last season before joining Stayner to score 31 goals and add 40 assists in 34 games.
All the players mentioned are back to play under head coach Dave Steele and general manager Richard Gauthier to hopefully win an Ontario Junior C title, and the very least a division championship.
Stayner held the best regular season record last season with an impressive 39-3-0 record, five points more than Alliston Hornets, who seem to be perennially the league champions. Once again the Hornets prevailed beating the Siskins four straight in the league semi-finals, before winning the division title and becoming North Conference champions.
Stayner’s regular season started Thursday against Schomberg and the club is in Penetang tonight. In fact, Stayner’s first six games are on the road this season. Their third game is this Sunday in Caledon and another one is planned for Wednesday, Sept. 20 in Orillia. Stayner doesn’t come until Thursday, Oct. 5 when Huntsville Otters visit.
Stayner will be fun to watch again. Last year, the club scored 282 goals in 42 games, that’s a 6.71 average. Expect similar numbers again.
Coach Steele is also counting on veteran forwards Lucas Jeffery and Ben Skuce for goal production. Jeffery, a Stayner Minor Hockey grad, scored 22 goals two seasons ago and 16 last year, while Skuce produced 13 a year ago.
Gauthier and Steele have done a good job of finding new players. Joey Visconti, forward, played Tier II Junior A with Stouffville Spirit last year scoring 8 goals and assisting on 14 in 50 games; Marcus Semiao saw action between the pipes for the Markham Royals for the past two seasons, 45 games last season with a respectable 2.79 goals against average, not bad at the Provincial Junior A level.
Locally, making the team are Zachary Johnston, who came up through the Creemore Minor Hockey system; Eric Lalonde, also from Collingwood, played defence for the Grey-Bruce Highlanders last season and was selected 74th overall draft pick by the Oshawa Generals, and forward Conner MacDonald of Wasaga Beach.
Kingston Frontenacs drafted defenceman Liam Kindell from Erin but he will gain experience with the Siskins this season.
Other defencemen added are Kyle Linney, who played for Alliston Hornets last year and Stouffille Spirit two seasons ago, and Cameron Knowels; Inking cards are forwards Jarred Baker (Junior C experience), Jacob Beard – two seasons played for the Junior B Cambridge Winter Hawks, centreman Marc McCreary, and netminder Zach Levec, 17, from Barrie, an affiliate player for Stayner last year.
Defenceman Mark Dupont and forward Steven Pickard are back for a second season.