SUDBURY, Ont. – Coming off a 2017-18 campaign where they played over .500 hockey and qualified for the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs, the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners are aiming for an even better performance this season.
With wins in 24 contests and points in 35 outings, the Gold Miners under then first-year head coach and general manager Ryan Wood, will look to produce even more victories as the new quest readies to commence.
Back for his second year with the Gold Miners, Wood continues his efforts to build the organization back into a contender.
With six exhibition games under their belt, a home date Saturday at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex vs. the Powassan Voodoos awaits as Kirkland Lake takes to the ice to get things underway in the regular season.
Here is the latest NOJHL team season preview compiled by the league and its member clubs, with this edition highlighting the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.
NOJHL: What are your expectations for the club heading into the 2018-19 season?
RYAN WOOD: Our expectations are to develop young men, both on and off the ice, to better prepare them for life and help them advance to their individual hockey goals. Also, like every team we want to compete every night and give ourselves a chance to win.
NOJHL: What did you see from your team in the preseason and your exhibition games?
R.W.: We have a very young team with lots of upside. We hope with the team that has been selected after the Polar Bear Classic in Cochrane that we will build a strong core of players ready and willing to compete each night.
NOJHL: Among your returning players, who is someone you expect to have a big year?
R.W.: We have Gregory Trudeau-Paquet, who we expect good things from and as everyone already knows the kid is an offensive threat when he steps on the ice. In his first three seasons in the NOJHL he has averaged over a point-per-game as he has racked up 86 points in just 79 games. 42 of those points have been goals, including a career-best 19 he scored last season. Trudeau-Paquet is also impressive on the power play picking up 19 points during man advantage chances.
NOJHL: Who are some newcomers you’ve signed that you’ve been impressed with early on?
R.W.: We have been very impressed with an abundance of players and we’re excited to see who rises to the top after finalizing our roster and heading into the regular season.
NOJHL: What are you looking to build upon from last season, which was your first year with the club?
R.W.: We are looking to continue the culture change in Kirkland Lake and ensure that we have hungry players willing to work everyday.
NOJHL: What goals do you have heading into the start of the regular season?
R.W.: Our goals are to develop these young men into quality players and help them achieve their hockey goals.
NOJHL: Any closing comments to wrap things up?
R.W.: We are very excited to get the season going and just hope to compete with everyone. As well we want to provide an entertaining brand of hockey for our fans.