A pair of veteran players have boarded the Espanola Express just ahead of the 2018-2019 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season.
1999 birth year defenseman Collin McGuire and 1998 birth year goalie Ryan Hale have signed with the Express. Both have prior NOJHL experience.
McGuire appeared in 23 NOJHL games in 2017-2018, dividing time between the Hearst Lumberjacks and Timmins Rock.
Hale appeared in 14 games with Espanola in 2017-2018 and had expressed a desire to return to the Express for the 2018-2019 campaign.
Espanola general manager Chad Clarke expects McGuire to develop his game under new Express head coach Dave Clancy.
“We are happy to bring an experienced guy to our squad, he has played in the league and knows what it takes to be successful at this level,” said Clarke. “We expect Collin to have a breakout year under the guidance of Coach Clancy and be a very strong defender for us.”
As for Hale, he is slated to form a tandem with 2001 birth year rookie Joel Rainville between the Espanola pipes this season.
“Hale had a strong finish to the season last year and played very well for us. We expect him to pick up where he left off and shut down opposing teams night after night,” Clarke noted. “We are very confident with our goal-tending duo (of Hale and Rainville.)”
Meanwhile, the Express has scheduled an exhibition home game against the French River Rapids for Thursday, Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Espanola Recreation Center.
First regular season home game for the Express will be on Friday, Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m. with the Blind River Beavers providing the opposition.