Seven other teams will have something to say about it
Two-time defending champion Hickman Automotive Group St. John’s Caps will play a different style this season, according to coach Paul Whittle, but that doesn’t mean the Caps won’t be just as tough to compete against.
“I don’t know if you are necessarily going to see the dominate team that you saw over the last two seasons,” said Whittle, refering to the fact that the Caps only lost eight games over the past two years.
“We’re definitely in a position where, if we do the things we need to do, we can go for the third one,” he said of the team that led the league in goals for with 194 and goals against with 72 last season.
“I’m not saying we won’t get there, but it will be much harder.”
The eight-team Kent St. John’s Junior Hockey League League — which also includes Assante Wealth Management CBR Renegades, BK Services Junior Celtics, C&W Offshore Southern Shore Breakers, I.J. Smith Home Building Centre Trinity Placentia Flyers, MoorFrost C.B.N. Stars, Mount Pearl Marks Dakota Wild and Roebothan Mckay Marshall Avalon Capitals — begins the 2013-14 season with double headers tonight and Sunday.
The Stars take on the Caps 8 p.m. today at Twin Rinks, while Renegades play the Capitals 8 o’clock tonight at Goulds Arena.
Sunday’s schedule sees the Flyers meeting the Wild 7:15 p.m. at the Glacier and the Caps taking on the Celtics 8 p.m. at Jack Byrne Arena.
Top two teams clashed
St. John’s Caps won the 2013 league title over the Roebothan McKay Marshall Avalon Capitals in four straight games, including a 4-1 win in the clincher. Avalon finished runner-up to the Caps during the regular season with just five losses.
Whittle said the Caps aren’t going to rely on pure skill as much as they have over the past few years.
“We’re not quite as skilled. But we’re going to be pretty physical and a tough team to play against.
“We lost a lot of our key guys from last year, including a couple of players who are hard to replace, but we have some good guys coming up, though we will be younger. Still, we expect to be in the mix again. We expect to get better as the season goes on, like any young team.”
Here’s a look at the teams for the 2013-14 season:
Hickman Automotive Group St. John’s Caps
Coach: Paul Whittle
Home rink: Twin Rinks
Home dates/start times: 8 p.m., Saturday
Last year’s record: 25-3-0
Key losses: Kyle McGuirk, Robbie Hynd, Patrick Parfrey, Robbie Perks, Chad Furlong, Roger Pender
Key returnees: Scott Bray, Ryan Walsh, Lee Gulliver, Matthew Coughlan, Riley Edwards, Joey Trenholm, Justin Walsh
New players: Nick Walsh, Zac Cooper, Jesse Parrell, Chris Mallard
C&W Offshore Southern Shore Breakers
Coach: Mike Glynn
Home rink: Mobile Arena
Home dates/start times: 7:45 p.m., Friday
Last year’s record: 9-15-4
Key losses: Michael Chafe, Andrew Gale, Shane Boland
Key returnees: Brandon Baird, Dan Chafe, Craig Williams, D.J. Elliott, Manasie Kendell and Daniel Dalton
New players: Justin David from Nova Scotia, Alex Baggs and Zach Dalley from central Newfoundland, John Young and Alex Campbell from St. Anthony and Nick Kent from St. John’s along with Josh Carey and Alex Campbell
Quote: “We’ve got a young fast team and we look to play a more disciplined game this year to improve on our record last year.” — Mike Glynn
Assante Wealth Management CBR Renegades
Coach: Bernie Sweeney
Home rink: Robert French Memorial Stadium, Kelligrews C.B.S.
Home dates/start times: 8:15 p.m. Saturday
Last year’s record: 9-16-3
Key losses: Captain Paul Perham, Mike Ryan, Colin King, Joel Foster and goalie Zach Mitchell to Avalon via a preseason trade.
Key returnees: Johnny MacDonald, Alex Tulk, Andrew Walsh, Brandon Tilley and, back from junior A Mirimichi, N.B. Timberwovels, Ryan Power
New players: Luke Tilley, Josh Taylor, Mark Reddigan, Stephen Ledrew and Jordan Hutchings.
Quote: “Our strengths are that we look to be a well-balanced relatively young team. We have four outstanding D. I believe we can finish in the top four. I’d like to be on top in the Avalon Division by all-star break also.” — GM Stephen Gillard
Roebothan McKay Marshall Avalon Capitals
Coach: David Hutchens
Home rink: Goulds Arena
Home dates/start times: 8 p.m. Saturday
Last year’s record: 21-5-2
Key losses: Andrew Caines, Kevin Huestis
Key returnees: Alex Powell, Michael Cole, Doug Pippy
New players: Ben Cleary, Matthew Downer, Matthew Caines, Harry Noftle, Zack Mitchell, Zack Tucker, Ben Murphy, Noel Morgan
Quote: “We lost in four straight games in last year’s final, but that was coming off a tough semifinal against Celtics where we lost a few key players to injury. We paid dearly in that series because of those injuries. I’m not saying we would have won, but it would have been a whole lot closer. Our returning players will certainly have that in the back of their minds and it will be a motivating factor this season for sure.” — Derrick Hutchens, coach/GM
BK Services Junior aCeltics
Coach: Jeff Hurley
Home rink: Jack Byrne Arena
Home dates/start times: 5 p.m., Sunday
Last year’s record: 15-12-1
Key losses: Tyler Parsons, Travis Curtis, Shane McGrath, Matthew Connors
Key returnees: Chris Blackwood, Matthew Walsh, Bill Dawe
New players: Ben Elliott, Curtis Kavanagh
Quote: “We’re returning all of our defencemen so that will be a strength. We expect to be competitive.” — GM Doug Tibbo
Mount Pearl Marks Dakota Wild
Coach: Adam Collins
Home rink: The Glacier
Home dates/start times: 7:15 p.m., Sunday
Last year’s record: 12-14-2
Key losses: Robert Barrett, Julian Loveless, Jacob Pitcher, John Ryan
Key returnees: Steve Barrett, John Bursey, Damian Ryan, Kyle Aucoin
New players: Ryan Fillier, Brandon Kalbfleisch, Michael Deering, Bradyn Brown
Quote: “We’ll be a defensive type of team as our goal scoring probably won’t be plentiful, but we look to be competitive and give someone in the playoffs a run for their money.” — Team vice-president Fred Blair.
I.J. Smith Home Building Centre Trinity-Placentia Flyers
Coach: Eugene Hutchings
Home rink: Trinity-Placentia Stadium, Whitbourne
Home dates/start times: 2:30 p.m., Sunday
Last year’s record: 12-16
Key losses: Paul Hutchings, Jeremy Nicholas, Darren Wilkins, Matt Power
Key returnees: Curtis March, David Russell, Justin Pinkson
New players: Sixteen-year-old goalie Evan Buckle, along with 18-year-old goalie Spencer Holloway. Connor Stevens, Dakota Warren.
Quote: “We lost 12 players from last year, so this will be a rebuilding season for us. We’ve got a lot of very young players, including our two goalies.” — GM Ed Clarke
MoorFrost Conception Bay North Stars
Home rink: Bay Arena, Bay Roberts
Coaches: Rod Noseworthy, Bruce Dawe
Home dates/start times: 7:15 p.m., Friday
Last year’s record: 9-18-1
Key losses: Tyler Adams and Jacob Lewis
Key returnees: Andrew Smith, Connor Thompson, Brandon Baker
New players: Josh Hickey, Jonathan Tozer, Nick Noseworthy, Brandon Petten
Quote: “We expect to be middle of the pack, improving as the season progresses.” — Stars GM Brian Hurley