Nathan Small and Riley Coome play first two games for St. Marys this week
By Pat Payton
A strong St. Marys Lincolns team got even better earlier this week when General Manager Greg Smale acquired two talented defencemen, Nathan Small and Riley Coome.
The first deal involved Small, who was obtained from Western Conference rival London Nationals for the rights to defenceman Ryan Martin. Martin played for the Lincs (2015-16) as a 16-year-old and then spent the last three seasons with the OHL’s Erie Otters. After being released by Erie this fall, the 20-year-old Londoner opted to join the Nats, but Martin’s Jr. ‘B’ rights still belonged to St. Marys.
Small was the highest-scoring Major Midget defenceman last season. The 17-year-old from Dorchester collected 43 points (6-37) with the Elgin-Middlesex ‘AAA’ Chiefs.
“I think he improves our puck movement and our vision,” GM Smale told the Independent. “He will skate us out of trouble in our own zone. He’s got a great sense for offence and he sees the ice really well. It’s exciting to have him.”
To make room for Small, Lincs released defenceman Tyler Alexander. While a member of the London Jr. Knights Major Midgets last season, the 17-year-old Ilderton native played several games for the Lincolns as an affiliate skater. This year, Alexander had no points in seven games.
Coome played for Lincs in 2016-17
Coome agreed to come to St. Marys after being released by the Western Mustangs’ men’s varsity team this week. The 20-year-old from Dorchester played for the Lincolns in 2016-17, the last time they made the playoffs after a sixth-place finish. Coome then spent the last two seasons with the London Knights, playing a total of 122 games with the OHL team.
“We’ve come to an arrangement and he’s all in,” Smale said. He says the Lincs will carry 23 players for now.
“With Coome, you couldn’t have asked for a better person and player for our team right now,” Smale said. “With players like (Jordan) Daer and (Caleb) MacDonald and (Brayden) Hislop, who want to play in the OHL, we now have a guy who has been there. He can show them how to practice every day and how to play the game the right way. It will be extremely beneficial for developing those young players.”
Coome is 6 ft., 4 inches and 210 lbs. “He’s a big boy and a defensive-style player,” Smale says. “He put up good offensive numbers when he was here (in St. Marys). I think he’s an overall good defenceman. You couldn’t ask for a better guy to teach these young kids how to play.”
Small and Coome play their first two games with the Lincolns this week.
Walter Parkinson remembered
The Independent interviewed former Lincolns’ team captain Walter (Wally) Parkinson during the Lincs-Montreal Canadiens Alumni game last March 22 at the PRC.
A life-long Lucan resident, Parkinson, 69, passed away on Friday, Sept. 20. He played two years (1968-70) with the Lincolns. He also played Midget hockey in St. Marys before joining the Lincs. Parkinson is survived by his wife Ruth Ann, four children and five grandchildren.
What fond memories did Parkinson have playing for the Lincolns in St. Marys, he was asked during the March Alumni game.
“All the people in town were so friendly,” Parkinson recalled with a smile. “They had your back covered all the time. I loved the town and I loved the fans. We had great support when I played here. The old St. Marys arena was always full.”
There was a moment of silence for Parkinson prior to Lincs’ GOJHL home game last Friday night.