Rock of the North

May 18, 2023

They represented the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League with respect and class, traits that trickle down from president Ted Gooch to general manager and head coach Brandon Perry and his staff to the players. An NOJHL title team for the ages, the Timmins Rock recently posted a highly respectable 2-2-0 record at the 10-team Centennial Cup, 2023 national championship tournament.

Timmins scored dramatic overtime wins over both the Yarmouth Mariners of the Maritime Hockey League and the Ottawa Jr. Senators of the Central Canada Hockey League. Most junior A hockey observers place both the MHL and CCHL as being superior leagues to the NOJHL. But the Rock paid little heed to that by skating to victories over the champions of both the MHL and the CCHL.

Brandon Perry

Of considerable note during the 2023 Centennial Cup, the Rock became the first NOJHL team to win a game since way back in 2012 when the national championship tournament was called the RBC Cup. The most recent victory by an NOJHL team at the national tournament came in May of 2012 when the Soo Thunderbids defeated the Woodstock Slammers of the MHL. In both 2015 and 2022, the Thunderbirds again represented the NOJHL at the national tournament but lost all eight games that they played.

Aforementioned Timmins hockey boss Brandon Perry, the intense, energetic and passionate leader of the Rock, paid tribute to the character of his players in the aftermath of the two wins in four games at the Centennial Cup.

“My heart is so full … I am beyond proud of these young men,” Perry relayed to Hockey News North. “Such a great group of players they are. Beyond hockey, in 10 to 15 years, these guys will be good husbands and good fathers and that is what makes me more proud than anything. I am going to miss our graduating 20-year olds.”

The Rock finished first overall during the 2022-2023 regular season, topping the 12 team NOJHL with 95 points from a record of 45-8-5. Timmins then won 12 of 15 playoff games to win the NOJHL championship. The Rock began the playoffs by ousting the French River Rapids in five games before sweeping the Powassan Voodoos in four straight.

Then, in the NOJHL championship series, the Rock spotted the Soo Thunderbirds a two games to one lead before winning the next three matches — including two in the Soo — to upend the reigning NOJHL champions. Timmins won the championship in Game 6 on the road, defeating the Thunderbirds by a 4-2 score.

What you think about “Rock of the North”

  1. As a Billet Dad (#28 Liam Wells and in previous years, #44 Tyler Schwindt and #16 Tyler Patterson), a member of the billeting committee this year with specific responsibility for public appearances for the team, I am so proud to be a small cog in the machine that is the classiest, most tight-knit group I’ve ever been part of. And I have been manager and/or trainer for 23 or 24 teams over 30 years, from Atom to Juvenile.
    I am already looking forward to next season.

  2. Congratulation team players coachimg staff and all board members of 2022 2023 season you all made Timmins Fans proud

  3. I am so proud of you Brandon, your statement is how I felt when you played hockey with Michael and Darrin, way back when. Be proud of the man you have grown to be. Proud, proud, proud of you

  4. I have followed the Rock from down here in Mississauga. My tie to junior hockey in Timmins includes doing manual stats for the Golden Bears. As an OHL season ticket holder, I follow the Rock because of the dedication of people like Jason Kelly. These young men have experienced something many of us never will, the opportunity to play best on best. It does not get any better than that. Congrats on a great season and kudos to a great organization.

  5. A year to remember from a great organization and staff. Congratulations, you made the NOJHL very proud

  6. Thank You for a great season. My daughter and I drove through a few snowstorms to enjoy a game or ten this Winter. I love going to a game when the rink is crowded and it appears the Rock has a fan base loyal no matter the weather. That the team was among the best in the Country all season long made it easy.

    It is what made this be that is remarkable. There is a history here, it is of how the talent from teams before today is giving back. The other day I was thinking about how this Junior Hockey industry does that when I was sorting through junk and came across a stack of Hockey Cards from days gone by. Eskimo days. It is heartening to know how some of those stars won’t let go. A kid whose nose is pressed against the glass to get closer to see Hockey being played creates a lasting legacy that the Huggins or Cattarello or Porter even Wilkes names persist from pioneer days,
    Once again the Hockey ghosts of Iroquois falls get to relive the glory days of Company teams and smoke filled arenas where a Special Train carried an arena of Fans to see The Porkies take on Abitibi. Although the names and rinks are different, the spirit is there.
    I know I will be going to Timmins to enjoy a night out, not just for my own team but for the love of the Game and the people who love the Game.

    I look forward to Friday to welcome the NOJHL Champions Home .

    The guy in the Hudson Bay coat

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