Ex-OHL star in Espanola

June 8, 2021
Joey Talbot, as a member of the Sheffield Steelers of the British Elite Ice Hockey League. (photo by Marco Bertolini)

Joey Talbot, a former high scoring right winger with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League and part of their 1999 Memorial Cup championship team, has joined the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League as an assistant coach/skills development coach.

The 41-year old Talbot later had a productive pro career, including four standout seasons with the legendary Sheffield Steelers of the British Elite Ice Hockey League.

A native of the Sudbury area town of Wahnapitae, Talbot played four full seasons in Ottawa under legendary 67’s coach Brian Kilrea. On the small side at 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, Talbot was a big game player and in his final OHL season, the 2000-2001 campaign, he scored 52 goals, playoffs included.

He then starred for the University of Western Ontario Mustangs for two seasons before embarking on a nine-year pro career, including the last four over in Britain with Sheffield, where he was part of two championship teams with the Steelers.

Now, in taking a coaching position in the NOJHL with Espanola — which is less than an hour’s drive from his Wahnapitae roots — Talbot will assist Express president and head coach Jason Rapcewicz.

Rapcewicz told Hockey News North that a mutual friend connected him and Talbot “and we seem to be on the same page in terms of player and skills development.”

As was first reported by Hockey News North, the 44-year old Rapcewicz just recently confirmed that he will coach the Express come the 2021-2022 NOJHL season.

Rapcewicz will take over bench duties from Brent Hughes, who recently moved on from Espanola and the NOJHL after one season — an abbreviated one at that — to become the first head coach of the expansion Vermilion County Bobcats of the minor pro Southern Professional Hockey League.

Rapcewicz, who has been the sole owner of the NOJHL Express since 2019, previously served as an assistant coach in Espanola a few years back when he was a part owner of the team.

He said he is looking forward to returning to a coaching role with the Express.

“I am just excited to be back in the driver’s seat,” Rapcewicz told Hockey News North. “I will have big shoes to fill following after Brent. Having said that, I am excited to get back on the ice and help teach and develop the young players that we will have … and now with Joey Talbot on board helping out.”

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