Fourth year head coach Brandon Perry and his staff of assistants will look to the experience of a smattering of seasoned performers as the Timmins Majors skate into the 2020-2021 Great North Under 18 Hockey League season.
The 31-year old Perry, a hometown hombre who progressed to play four seasons of Canadian university hockey with the Queen’s Golden Gaels and a term at the minor pro level before returning to Timmins for work and to help raise what is now a growing young family, has a peerless, peppery passion as the coach of the Majors.
The affable Perry recently took time from his hectic schedule to discuss a number of the returning Majors and the ensuing expectations for the 2020-2021 season in the Great North.
From the returning forward group, Perry relayed to Hockey News North that Nolan Ring “is a very good hockey player who does everything right. All the small details of the game, Nolan does so good … he is an absolute pleasure to coach and he is going to have a tremendous season.
“Then there is Blake Ferron, who as a a first year player, started to play his best hockey toward the end of last season, which was encouraging because it meant he was developing and getting better. He looks fantastic early on here and we are excited to see him take the next step.
“Over to Brad Moore, he looks so good, is very fast and does everything hard. He is my kind of player. He had an unfortunate leg injury last year that hampered his development but he is a good young player.
“Our captain is Pierre Racicot, I mean what can you say about this kid, he embodies everything we want in a hockey player as an incredibly mature young man with a team first attitude. There is never a day when he is not the hardest working player on the ice and that work ethic gets so much done for us in so many situation and we are thrilled to have him back.
“Justin Charette is a kid with an ’05 birth date who played for us as a bantam last year and had 21 points. He is incredibly gifted in terms of IQ, he understands the game so well and has the skill and work ethic to match it. We are hopeful for him in the 2021 Ontario Hockey League draft. He puts in the work every day and hopefully he gets an opportunity to showcase his skills in front of OHL scouts in the near future,” assessed Perry.
Over to the defensemen, the Majors have two returnees in Chase Longhurst and Ray Durocher.
“Chase makes a great first pass, is a leader on and off the ice, and we know he is ready for a bigger work load this season. He looks great. And Ray is a young kid who came to us last season, had a great development year and looks ready to handle more minutes back there. He is an incredible kid,” Perry relayed.
No matter the team, no matter the league, no matter the level, having a good goalie is paramount for any type of success.
And it is between the pipes that the Majors will be able to count on a veteran goalie for this season in Evan Nicholls.
Nicholls played at the minor midget level in Sault Ste. Marie in 2018-2019 before heading up to Timmins to stop pucks for the Majors in 2019-2020.
“Evan is a very big goalie who had some incredible moments for us last year and we are expecting the same this year, with a little more consistency,” Perry said of Nicholls. “We are happy to have him back and he is eager to help this team win.”
By position, the full Majors lineup, with players birth year in brackets, is as follows.
Forwards: Nolan Ring (2003), Pierre Racicot (2003), Tristan Bouchard (2004), Bradley Moore (2004), Blake Ferron (2004), Nathan Paquette (2004), Nathan Dutkiwiecz (2004), Brady Mayappo (2004), Justin Charette (2005), Kaeden McArthur (2005), Alex Michel (2005), Thomas Beard (2005).
Defensemen: Chase Longhurst (2003), Jamie Sutherland (2003), Ray Durocher (2004), Connor Laneville (2004), Sam Gallagher (2005), Calvin Collins (2005), Brody Vachon (2005), Joe Lax (2005).
Goalies: Evan Nicholls (2003), Konrad Simard (2003).
The Majors begin regular season play on Saturday with road action against the cohort Kapuskasing Flyers.