New to the Espanola Express

October 5, 2015

Four defencemen have recently joined the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, has confirmed.

Heading the list of newcomers to the expansion Express is well-traveled, 1995 birth-year defender Shane Snow.

Snow first played in the NOJHL as a 16-year old with the Blind River Beavers and later took a regular turn with the Soo Thunderbirds. A Sudbury product, Snow has also played in the Central Canada Hockey League and in the now-defunct Canadian International Hockey League and World United Hockey League.

Coached by veteran NOJHL bench boss Tom McCarthy, the Express is off to a predictable start for a first-year entry with a record of 1-8 to date.

“It is always a difficult task starting a new junior hockey franchise and being successful immediately,” said Espanola general manager Chad Clarke.

To be sure, Clarke’s statement has plenty of merit as the NOJHL’s two other first-year teams are also struggling thus far this season — Soo Eagles have a record of 1-6-1 and French River Rapids are winless with an 0-7 mark.

At any rate, as the Express look to improve with the new additions, the other defenders besides Snow who Espanola recently signed are Tyler Wicks, Aaron Beauchamp and Zachary Decontie.

Wicks, who has a 1997 birth date, has size at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and prior junior experience in the Western States Hockey League.

Beauchamp, who has a 1996 birth date, was acquired from the Fort Frances Lakers of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League.

Decontie, who has a 1997 birth date, formerly played in the erstwhile WUHL.

What you think about “New to the Espanola Express”

  1. Wicks and Beauchamp have impressed early with a pretty good game in the d zone. Beauchamp is a nice kid but has a tough side on the ice,good to see. Snow has not yet impressed but maybe he will later. Decontie has played pretty solid as well. They were able to move some natural forwards up to their positions. A bit disappointed that Dan Nicholas,who is one of the better defensive forwards on the team,is seeing limited ice time,but I may be a bit biased.

  2. I’ve seen these kids play a few times already and they will make this team better.

    What needs to happen from this point forward with the Express is to get far bigger up front so the play stays in the offensive zone. That may or may not happen this year, but I’m sure GM Chad Clarke and D of PP Randy Blake have that on their agenda.

    What the Express need is experience, size and skill up front. It’s clearly something they are lacking. The have improved their D core from what it was immensely…now its just a matter of getting bigger and more skilled up front.

    1. I tend to partially disagree Brad. The defense,yes did require some tweaking. Some size up front would help as well but the smaller guys up front are showing they belong as well. I think as the game wears on though they get tired from possibly over playing.

      1. It’s all fair Ross I know people won’t agree with me… I just see a team with one player who is over 6’1 and 200 pounds and from what I’ve seen, he maybe the slowest skater in the NOJHL right now. Just completely looks overwhelmed defensively when an opposing team has them hemmed in their own zone.

        One big thing I forgot to mention was how many 17 and 18 year old kids are on the team. Only 3 forwards are 19 and over, and personally, 2 of them probably shouldn’t see a regular shift. Of course as you get older, you get bigger and stronger…I knew coming in that this team would be young and inexperienced…so I guess I’ll just take the lumps.

        The goaltending is very hot and cold with them, which could use some tweaking as well. Plenty of big saves, but plenty of soft goals.

        All in due time though. They’ve tweaked the D (and could further tweak), I’m confident things will get done and the team will take shape.

  3. Lets go Express…..It’s Snow Time!…..Come on Shane! here is to a few Espanola wins…..just not against Rayside!

  4. I’m excited about Wicks’ size and the intensity he’s shown so far. Beauchamp is equally intense out there and it’s good to see a little fire out of the boys. I hope Snow and Decontie also make big contributions, we needed D badly! I would like to see more out of Nicholas, and it may be that he hasn’t been able to play his natural role and sees limited ice, but I have to say he hasn’t impressed with the time he’s had so far. He’s too good a player for that not to improve though, just a slow start. I believe the forwards are better than the results have shown so far, and though young and small we have some great speed and puck skill with the likes of Anklewich, Nadeau, and Aiken, when they start connecting with more power forward like Bednarski, Roschinsky , and Pitawanakwat the numbers will certainly improve. But we have to remember this is an expansion team and it will take some time.

    1. Pitawanakwat may be a bit slow to be calling him a power forward. He needs to pick up the speed a bit,he showed some spark in Elliot Lake. Nicholas is a defensive forward that was playing back on d. He is not offensive but plays a responsible game,if it’s flash you want you won’t see it from him but a steady defensive forward you will get. I feel the penalty kill needs to have more size on it.

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