Spencer Brick, a St. Clements native and third-year veteran, succeeds Cal Jefferies to lead the team this season.
“We felt as a coaching staff that Spencer was a leader on and off the ice. He shows great community involvement with our minor hockey system at practices, reading at the library and visiting the public school,” said Brock Gerber, general manager and assistant coach of the team. “He is also a local player that grew up in St. Clements, playing his minor hockey for Twin Centre.
“Spencer is vocal enough to get the guys going and is willing to do what it takes to win for the team. He has been a guy we can use in any game situation and understands what we expect at both ends of the rink and special teams,” he said, noting that Brick doesn’t let stats or ice time distract him from being a team player.
“He knows it’s about the whole group in that dressing room,” he added.
A 6’1”, 185-lb forward, Brick has been a Jack for his entire Junior C career, ending last season with the Wellesley Apple Products Trophy for being named the most valuable local player.
When asked what he wants for the season, the 21-year-old answered simply, “Nothing less than everything.”
They all seem to be set on the same goal: the Schmalz Cup.
“This is our chance here to go as far as its possible,” said Alex Uttley.
Alternate to Brick, Uttley has been a lifelong Jack. Having debuted as a ringette player in his early years, Uttley made the transition to hockey as soon as he could steadily skate.
Since then the 20-year-old from Elmira has been playing hockey, dominating the team’s scorecard. Last year’s 2016-2017 season saw the returning alternate come away with 75 points – plus another 20 in the playoffs – and an MVP title.
Joining Uttley as alternates are Kyle Soper and Shaun Pickering.
The youngest of the leaders and the only defenceman, Soper was acquired from the Sugar Kings midway through last season.
“Best thing that has happened to me,” Soper said of the trade. “It is probably the closest, best group of guys that I have played with.”
Meshing fluently with the guys, he is looking forward to a season he feels will be successful.
“I am hoping for a ring on my finger,” he said. “I think that we have the team to do it this year. We definitely have the coaches and the support to do it so I think this is our year.”
Pickering came to Wellesley two years ago from the Tavistock Braves, with the Jacks providing the 19-year-old from Stratford a young team with the potential for future development.
“They had a younger team at the time and showed the most interest in me so it made it quite easy. My girlfriend is from Wellesley, as well, so that also persuaded me,” he said. “I like the team a lot. All of the guys are great and I have made a lot of great friendships in the past few years.”
Pickering has high hopes for this upcoming season.
“The Schmalz Cup, definitely. There is nothing else but that. If I am being honest I would be disappointed if we don’t win it all,” he said. “I know these guys (motioning to the coaches) have been working hard this offseason bringing in guys and we have a good core with us already, so we should definitely make a run at it this year.”
And that they have.
Brock Gerber has spent the summer adding to the roster after losing nine players from last season to school and aging out.
“Right now we have 14 guys signed and there are a couple more guys coming in here. We are looking at some young local talent as well,” said Gerber. “It has been a busy offseason, we have been trying to add more skill and speed to our lineup – with experience – so it makes it a little more tough doing that.
“But, overall, we are happy so far and we are looking at everyday to make our team the best team we can,” he continued.
Coming off of a disappointing second-round playoff loss to the Paris Mounties in game six last season, Gerber echoed the team leaders’ goal for the season.
“That’s our goal, to be playing hockey in May this year. That is the goal for us right now. Obviously, the guys are behind us and we are behind the guys that we have in place right now to do that,” he said. “We are looking forward to getting the season started and going from there.”
Also joining the bench this year is Owen Gerber. At 6 years old and 50 lbs, the newest Gerber to the bench will be making sure all the sticks are looked after during the games.
The Jacks will be back on the preseason ice August 19 and 20 at the St. Clements Arena.