Wrong way in Elliot Lake

Randy Russon
October 23, 2017

Widely viewed as a serious championship contender before the start of the 2017-2018 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season, Elliot Lake Wildcats have instead been a big disappointment to date.

The Wildcats are headed the wrong way, having lost five straight games to dip below the .500 mark with a record of 8-10-1.

This marks a continued decline in the fortunes of the Elliot Lake franchise under second-year coach and general manager Corey Bricknell.

When Elliot Lake was granted an expansion franchise in 2014, the Wildcats had immediate success with Nathan Hewitt as coach and Todd Stencill as general manager. The Wildcats placed second in the NOJHL’s West Division with a resounding record of 38-11-3 and went through two playoffs rounds.

The 2015-2016 season was another good one for Elliot Lake under the watch of Hewitt and Stencill. The Wildcats again placed second in the NOJHL West with a tidy record of 35-12-7 and again made it through two rounds of the playoffs.

Since then, it has been downhill in Elliot Lake under Bricknell, who has been unable to match the standard that was set for him.

With Bricknell at the helm in 2016-2017, Elliot Lake stumbled to fifth place in the NOJHL West with a sub-par record of 23-26-7 and then lost in the preliminary round of the playoffs.

The 2016-2017 campaign marked Bricknell’s second straight losing season as an NOJHL coach. As coach of the erstwhile Iroquois Falls Eskis in 2015-2016, Bricknell oversaw a team that won only 15 of 54 regular season games before losing in the preliminary round of the playoffs.

The numbers tell the story of Brickell as an NOJHL coach.

In two full seasons prior to this one, between Iroquois Falls and Elliot Lake, Brickell’s coaching record stands at 38-65-7. Add in a playoff record of 1-4-0 and the math does not compute to a passing grade.

On to this season, Elliot Lake may only be 19 games in but five straight losses for a Wildcats team that was projected by many to finish atop the West Division is not a good sign.

Perhaps Bricknell, as one of the higher-paid coaches in the NOJHL, will be able to turn things around in Elliot Lake and get the Wildcats back to the high standards that were initially set by the aforementioned Hewitt and Stencill.

Then again, not only has he been unable to come close to matching the coaching record of Hewitt but average attendance at Wildcats home games has sharply declined since Bricknell swaggered into Elliot Lake.

The numbers are there, on the ice and at the gate.

And the numbers don’t lie — they have Bricknell coming up short.

What you think about “Wrong way in Elliot Lake”

    1. This reporter failed to mention:

      Espanola with 16 losses and 1 win

      Beavers with 10 losses and 7 wins (they finished 1st place last year)

      Timmins with 10 losses 6 wins

      Elliot Lake Wildcats are 3rd in their division and 6 in the full league with beavers 9th

      The Wildcats have 3 players in the top 20 scorers.

      The Wildcats have 3 players in the top assists of 20 players with Evan Spencer at the top of that list.

      Biased. At best.

  1. What is your obsession with Bricknell? I recall a similar posting from you last year… you’re grasping- at best. Move on 🙄

    1. Move on, you tell me, “Alitsha”?

      Move on from what, stating Corey Bricknell’s coaching record? Are you challenging its accuracy? I checked my math. It adds up.

  2. Facts are facts and I do beleive that RR is quoiting the facts when it comes to Mr. Bricknel’s record as RR says “the numbers don’t lie”.

  3. May be Alisha would like to here a few stories from some of us who live in Iroquois Falls about how Coach Bricknell carried on when he was up here !?!?!?!

  4. I am not sure why Alitsha has her self / his self in such a knot.
    I read and then re read the article and all Randy does is state facts. Period.

  5. Alot of stories about the Donnan-Bricknell era here in I.F. The Majority of them are not very nice and that is putting it mildley.

    1. Alitsha McCartney,

      feel free to post under that name but there is no need for you to try to also post under “Ema Nymton.”

      IP address for both of your “names” are identical.

      Have a good day.

  6. Assuming ‘hockey mom’ is referring to me. Corey is not my boyfriend. I’m married 🤷🏽‍♀️ I’m not even hiding behind a fake name. It would take two minutes to google that and see that I’m not connected. Nobody has, further proving that you don’t look into facts.

  7. Hey Corey why dont you try and win a few Games and prepare your team properly instead of getting your BF to post on here my oh my.

  8. Personally I think that Corey Bricknell has done a good job with this team as far as how hard they work they work hard and do not give up.

  9. @Abitibi Hockey mom- I replied I wasn’t his girlfriend- gave you alllll the info you need to confirm that and instead you changed your comment to ‘BF’ 🙄
    I’m also not his boyfriend. I can see how confused you are.

  10. In Corey’s defence for his time here, he didn’t have much to work with and the owner of the club certainly sold off more talent than he brought in. The kids who requested out did so more a result of broken promises or increasing fees brought upon by the owner as opposed to not wanting to play for Coach Corey. I’m not sure how he, or Mr Bernier could of built a contender with the rosters they inherited, a recruiting budget of next to zero and maximum or exceeding maximum allowable player fees.

    It woulda been a tough row to hoe for any coach in IF under AD!

    Still, his record is his record and an excusable year in IF doesn’t explain a downward trend in EL since his arrival.

  11. In my opinion…Al Donnon wrecked Bricknell in IF…that being said his record is not good on Elliot lake… however it would also be tough to fill the shoes of Nathan Hewitt and Stencill

  12. Now , now RR see what you started…. stirring the pot & getting some ghosts out of the closet in Eskis land… who you going to call ? GHOST BUSTERS!!!

  13. Bring back Stencill. Met the guy once. 30 second conversation and I could tell what kind of guy he was. That was over 10 years ago. I have so much respect for him and what he’s done for this league. Not sure why he left E.L, but I can tell you one thing. The nojhl is a better place when he is involved.

  14. Elliot Lake Wildcats are a terrific and well-supported organization. Bricknell should just resign before he does more damage.

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