New assistant coach with Lincs, in charge of defence, is Cole Stewart
By Pat Payton
At a team barbecue this past Saturday, St. Marys Lincolns signed five new players for the 2019-20 Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) season.
Four of the five new additions are defencemen, and the other incoming Lincoln is a goaltender and General Manager Greg Smale is thrilled to get all five on cards.
The four blueliners are Sam Sedley, Caleb MacDonald, Tyler Alexander and Jordan Daer.
Sedley, a St. Marys native who turns 16 this month, was captain of the Huron-Perth ‘AAA’ Minor Midget Lakers last season. He played four games with the Lincs as an affiliate player last season and didn’t look out of place. Sedley was recently drafted in the fourth round (70th overall) by the Ontario Hockey League’s Owen Sound Attack. He will play in St. Marys if he doesn’t crack the Attack’s line-up in the fall.
MacDonald, 17, played nine games with the Lincolns as an affiliate, picking up one goal and three points. From Cambridge, MacDonald was a member of the Waterloo Wolves ‘AAA’ Major Midgets last season.
Alexander, 17, saw action in 10 games as an affiliate skater with the Lincs a year ago. The Ilderton resident was a member of the London Jr. Knights ‘AAA’ Major Midgets last season.
Daer was a Midget teammate of Alexander’s on the London Jr. Knights. The 17-year-old London native is a right-shooting defenceman who played three games as an affiliate skater with the GOJHL’s London Nationals last winter.
Played for Ridley College
The new Lincolns’ netminder is Gleb Poliakov, an 18-year-old lefthander, who has both Canadian and Russian citizenship. Last season, Poliakov played for Ridley College in St. Catharines, where he currently resides. The Ridley team posted an overall record of 41-19-1 last year.
Poliakov replaces Justin Richer, who is playing college hockey in Sault Ste. Marie next season.
“We committed to him early to make sure we had another goalie,” Smale told the Independent. “We hope we’ve identified a good one.” The other St. Marys goalie is returnee Kyle Curtin, a Peterborough Petes draft pick.
All five new players attended Lincs’ three-day spring camp in late April. They will join 13 veteran players who have committed to returning for the 2019-20 season.
“I’m pretty excited about the new guys,” Smale said. “They are all great kids and come from great families. They all fit into what we’re trying to do here, and they all add different elements to the team. They’re a more diverse group than we’ve had in the past.
“Last year was about putting a hard-working group on the ice,” the GM said Saturday. “This year, it’s about winning hockey games. We want to be a factor in this league. We want to make sure, if a team is going to win the Sutherland Cup, they have to go through St. Marys. When teams come to St. Marys, it’s not an easy two points any more.”
In his address Saturday, coach McClement also emphasized that winning is at the top of the team’s priority list.
“I’m excited for the players coming back; they believe in our program,” McClement said. “I think we have a really good group here. But this year, we’re here to win. Every time we go on the ice, we want to win those two points.”
Club president Brandon Boyd welcomed the five newcomers Saturday.
“Whether you play one year or five years here, I hope you have a memorable experience,” Boyd said. “Welcome to the St. Marys Lincolns, you’re joining one of the oldest Jr. ‘B’ teams in the province.”
Former Jr. ‘C’ coach
GM Smale also told the Independent that Lincs recently hired a new assistant coach. Cole Stewart, who will be in charge of the team’s defencemen, joins McClement and assistant coach Tyler Duarte on the bench.
A former Junior hockey player who has coached at the Jr. ‘C’ level, Stewart now lives in St. Marys. He was an assistant coach with the Legion Minor Midgets this past season.
Stewart was one of four men interviewed for the position, Smale said.
–A new Lincolns’ assistant trainer is Andrew Thompson. He spent the last three seasons as a trainer with Mt. Forest Jr. ‘C’ Patriots.
–Lincs have also hired Scott McCutcheon, of St. Marys, as new equipment manager.
–Lincolns are still interviewing for an assistant GM, the position Smale held last season.
–The GOJHL Showcase weekend, which wasn’t held last year, will be hosted by St. Catharines this season–in early September.