The Wellesley Applejacks invited two new players into the fold ahead of this year’s Junior C hockey season: Reade Macinnis and Tomas Azzano.
“Reade’s a right-handed shooting defenceman, which are hard to come by. Obviously he’s played at a very high level on a very good team last year, and we’re really looking forward to having Reade on our lineup this year on the back end,” said Applejacks head coach Brad Gerber.
Macinnis, 19, is joining the team this year after playing for the OJHL Cobourg Cougars. The 5’11”, 175-pounder is attending the University of Waterloo, and the Applejacks were able to scoop him for their roster.
“He’s a puck moving defencemen, and that’s one thing you’re always looking for. You know, making one good pass from our end, getting us out of trouble and that’s what Reade can bring for us,” said Gerber. “And, yeah, again we’re excited to have him line up and we’re excited to see him play here in Wellesley.”
Twenty-year-old Azzano, on the other hand is coming to the team as a forward. The 5’11”, 166-pounder formerly played for the Wingham Ironmen. The Jacks are really excited to have him, said the coach.
“Tomas is a fellow who’s got some Junior B experience. We saw him actually a couple years ago in the (Elmira) Sugar Kings training camp and we liked him then. Obviously he was good enough to move on and play Junior B elsewhere. Tomas ended up playing for the Wingham Ironmen and at the end of the season he was looking to come closer to Waterloo.”
Complementing Macinnis’ defensive play, Azzano will be bringing some much needed firepower to the Applejacks’ lineup this season.
“He’s a full scorer. He’s good with the puck, he’s got good hands. He’s going to bring some scoring to us – that’s one thing we’re really looking for. And he’s a decent-sized body, as well. Again, you can never have enough of these kinds of players – guys who can finish and guys who can play physical as well, so we’re excited about having Tomas.”
There are still a few more spots on the roster to fill before the season begins, but with the returning players from last year, Gerber says the team is already shaping up into something formidable.
“We’ve still got a really good core coming back to work around from last year’s team, and we feel that if we can add a few of these guys, which we already have added a couple, we can be a really competitive team this year. It’s never done, we’re always working right up to training camp, which is about four weeks away now, so we’re always looking. There’s still spots open – you’re always looking to get better,” he said.
The entire organization is getting excited to get on the ice, especially with the new additions.
“By adding some of these players that have played at higher levels it’s just going to make us a stronger team,” said Gerber. “I know it’s only July but we can’t wait for the season to begin.”
The Jacks play their first preseason game August 25 in St. Clements against the Mitchell Hawks.