http://www.stratfordbeaconherald.com/20 ... ining-campWith less than six weeks until the start of training camp, the Stratford Warriors roster is taking shape.
Most of the players for 2017-18 have signed or committed, but there are still around five openings, and with younger players scheduled to attend major junior camps the situation will remain fluid into the early stages of the regular season.
Captain Jack Scanlan leads a group of returning forwards that includes Dylan Lebold, Graham Brulotte, Kam Shearer and Nathan Smith. Curtis Abbott is eligible to return but is looking at U.S. prep school options and will attend United States Hockey League camp.
On defence, Ryan Nicholson, Jack Wieringa and Mason Hardy will return. Hugh Anderson might be back if he doesn't catch on with a USHL or North American Hockey League team.
Incoming players include Markham Waxers major midget duo Connor Gregga and Andrew Vigliatore.
Gregga, a five-foot-eight forward, will turn 17 this month and posted 15 goals and 40 points in 38 games last season. He was held pointless in three games with the Ontario Junior Hockey League's Pickering Panthers.
Vigliatore, 18, is a five-foot-10 goalie who had a 1.21 goals-against average in 20 games last season.
“We like the way he's played so far in camp,” Warriors director of hockey operations Paul Jennings said.
Stratford signed St. Marys native Kaleb Pearson. The 17-year-old Flint Firebirds draft pick had a breakout season in 2016-17, netting 17 goals and 37 points in 45 regular season and playoff games with the Huron-Perth Lakers minor midgets.
“He's a pure goal scorer,” Lakers head coach Terry McCutcheon said in April. “He's kind of like (Ottawa Senators forward) Mike Hoffman. He can shoot the puck. His timing, he's a real huge threat on the power play and he was getting a tremendous amount of attention. Every team coming in was focused on him, and in spite of that he was able to light it up.”
Jennings noted Pearson's ability to play centre and right-wing and said the Warriors anticipate adding more players from the Lakers program before the season.
Forward Corson Searles, 19, will suit up in Stratford after spending last season with the Cambridge
Winter Hawks. Searles had 16 goals and 41 points in 50 games before notching a goal and assist in four playoff games.
The Paris native scored 18 goals with the Guelph Hurricanes in 2015-16.
“It was a really nice addition for us,” Jennings said. “Playmaking skilled centreman and very committed player, so we're shaping up quite nicely here.”
Defenceman Ryan Bell (18 in August) had four goals and eight points in 31 games with the Barrie Colts triple-A midget team. The Parry Sound native added two goals and four points in seven playoff games with the junior C Stayner Siskins.
Camp opens Aug. 19 at the Rotary Complex.
“All in all we're looking to be a very fast team that plays with a lot of pace and a real hungry group,” Jennings said. “Our returning players are excited, and players coming in will have have youth ... and that's something we were missing. A very dedicated group.”
I have a feeling Searles and Nicholson are going to be breakout players this year.