Team dressing room being refurbished this summer
By Pat Payton
A general manager once said that the process of building a team is simply adding one player at a time.
With still over six weeks before the team’s main training camp, St. Marys Lincolns have signed 13 players for the upcoming Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) season. Director of Hockey Operations Jim MacEachern made the announcement at the Lincs’ Annual General Meeting last Monday, June 25 at the PRC.
June was a “busy month” and management is “excited about the players we’ve signed,” MacEachern told approximately 30 people who attended the AGM. He also noted that they were “disappointed” with losing a couple of top prospects to the Sutherland Cup champion Listowel Cyclones.
“But we’re on the right track,” he said. “We’re going to be a young team and we’ll have to be patient.”
One of the latest players to sign is Carson McMillan, a 17-year-old forward from the Sudbury Wolves ‘AAA’ Major Midget team. “He’s a huge signing for us,” assistant GM Greg Smale said.
Another forward from the same team, Joe Mazur, has also committed to St. Marys. McMillan and Mazur competed for the Wolves at the Telus Cup Midget national championship in Sudbury this past season.
“We’re going to need some billets,” MacEachern added.
Another name Lincolns would like to get on a player’s card is Jake Weston. The 17-year-old Thorndale area native was named Lincs’ top defenceman last season.
“We’d love to have Weston,” MacEachern told the Independent. “We’re going to have more conversations with him in the next week or so. I think he’ll be in the line-up.”
When asked the question, the Director of Hockey Operations expects to have just two or three players back from last year’s team, which finished ninth and out of the playoffs.
‘Kids want to be here’
Smale also talked about the “positive” player signings recently. “These kids want to be here,” he stressed. Six of the new Lincolns are Major Jr. ‘A’ draft picks.
“Everybody is on the same page,” Smale continued. “We said from day one that we would recruit young players, and there could be some tough nights. We’re not selling anything but what we are. We want to retain these players for the following year.”
The assistant GM predicts a “young exciting team” in 2018-19.
“That’s the culture change we’re starting,” Smale said. “The hard work has paid off. We want 90 percent of our team in place going into training camp (starting Thursday, Aug. 16 at the PRC).”
Team treasurer Stewart Grant reviewed the Lincolns’ financials for the 2017-18 season. Grant noted that roughly two-thirds of the team’s total revenue for the season came from fundraising ventures such as sponsorships, donations, and the annual golf tournament.
On behalf of the Lincs, Grant emphasized the appreciation to all of the community organizations and citizens whose collective support has been so critically important to the ongoing operations of the hockey team.
The treasurer added that the hockey club lost $15,000 during the 2017-18 season, which fell short of expectations. This loss followed a profit of $4,000 earned during the 2016-17 season.
“With additional fundraising events planned for the New Year, along with an exciting young team on the ice that is being put together by the hockey operations department, the Lincolns are forecasting a profit for the 2018-19 season to offset the losses incurred in the prior year,” Grant added.
Club president Brandon Boyd was pleased with last week’s turnout as several returning and new faces attended the AGM.
“We look forward to growth in many areas of the organization, from new fundraising initiatives to enhancing the in-game experience for our fans,” he said.
“An improved on-ice product will be vital to the club’s long-term sustainability. The innovation and new vision of our expanded Hockey Operations staff has us positioned to become a competitive GOJHL club and ultimately improve the bottom line.
Dressing room getting refurbished
At the AGM, MacEachern also talked about the refurbishing of the Lincolns’ dressing room, which will include painting the room and staining the players’ stalls.
A new 6 ft. by 6 ft. carpet is in the plans for the centre of the dressing room, as well as 26 small carpets for the players. “We want to bring the room back to life,” the Director of Hockey Operations said.
MacEachern is also suggesting a new slogan for the team, ‘Build the Future and Respect the Past.’ Past team pictures will hang in the coaches room as well.