It may be mid-summer still, but the Elmira Sugar Kings roster is already starting to take shape. Things will start moving forward with the first official training camp on August 17.
About a dozen returning players make up the lineup for the 2019/2020 season, including last year’s MVP Hunter Dubecki, versatile forward Brody Waters, and top defencemen Harrison Toms, along with several new recruits.
“We’re excited about the year going forward – we like our team, we think we’ve got a lot of good pieces in place. We’ve got an experienced team with a lot of returning players and added some really good young players to that mix,” said Jeff Snyder, director of hockey operations. “We’re just excited to get going.”
Joining the roster this year is forward Cooper Way from the Waterloo Minor Midget AAA squad. Way was captain of the Waterloo Wolves and is a fourth-round pick of the Oshawa Generals.
Adding to the defensive line of the team is former Kitchener Dutchmen Carter Lennon. Lennon has played consistently for Kitchener teams since the 2014-2015 Kitchener Junior Rangers Minor Midget AAA team and is making the move to Elmira this season.
“He’s a defenceman with two years’ experience going into his third year that we know very well because we’ve played against him,” said Snyder. “We’re really happy to get him – we think he’ll fit into our group pretty well and give us some excellent experience on our defence.”
Another newcomer is goaltender Gregory Brassard, who brings some diverse goaltending experience playing for a variety of teams, most recently the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners for the Northern Ontario Junior League in the 2018/2019 season.
“We have the same coaching staff coming back,” added Sugar Kings head coach Rob Collins. “Everyone in the organization is focused on improving and not having the early exit – we think of a first-round exit in this organization … not to have that happen again. Everyone’s got to get better, from the best player on the hockey team to a trainer.”
There are several spots still available on the roster before training camp opens. The camp will feature live scrimmages with referees, off-ice training, and testing to give the coaching staff a feel of what the team they’re working with.
Returning players from last year’s roster include Harrison Toms, Anthony Azzano, Liam Burke, Tyson Hillier, Jeremey Goodwin, Kurtis Goodwin, Brody Waters, Hunter Dubecki, Mason McMahon, Zach Cameron, Jonah Burley, Jakson Kirk and Jacob Black.
“We’ve picked up a couple really good young, local players that we’re really happy to have and expect a couple more other local young players to make our team at training camp, so we think we’ll have an exciting team to watch,” said Snyder. “Hopefully our fans will come out and support us and give them a great environment to play in.”