New settlers hit the Rapids

The off-season recruitment of youthful players to French River continues for the Rapids of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

Hockey News North has confirmed the recent signings by French River of forwards Philippe Daoust, Andrew Gavros, Uniam Rich and Kobe Roe along with goalies Kevin Tardif and Kevin Donaghey.

By Randy Russon
July 12, 2018

The six newcomers join three additions to the Rapids from earlier this summer in forwards Hunter Brazier, Cooper Bowman and Ryan Smith.

Daoust, Brazier and Smith all have a link to the French River and nearby Sudbury area.

The speedy Daoust is from Barrie but his parents hail from the French River town of Noelville, which is where the Rapids play their home games.

Brazier, a ninth-round pick of the Oshawa Generals at the 2018 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft, played for the Sudbury Wolves of the Great North Midget Hockey League in 2017-2018. He netted 8 goals, 14 assists, 22 points in 24 regular season games for the minor midget Wolves in 2017-2018.

And Smith was an 11th-round pick by the Sudbury Wolves at the 2018 OHL draft after clicking at a point per game clip with the North Central Predators last season.

Smith, who hails from the small Muskoka Lakes town of Bala, has hockey roots traced to his dad, Eddie Smith.

The elder Smith was also an OHL draft pick of the Wolves as Sudbury’s eighth-round selection back in 1982. Smith went on to play in 159 OHL games spanning three seasons while suiting up for the Wolves, Windsor Spitfires and Soo Greyhounds.

Meanwhile, French River president Paul Frustaglio is of the notion that the Rapids are on the verge of smoother sailing in 2018-2019, which will be their fourth season as members of the NOJHL.

French River, which won just five games over its first two seasons in the NOJHL, improved to 13 victories in 2017-2018 but still missed the playoffs for the third year in succession.

“I think we are going to be very good while being very young,” said Frustaglio. “We said we are going to get kids to the next level, so we’re keeping true to our word and we have gone after young, talented, fast players.”

French River has a new head coach as it readies for its fourth season in the NOJHL. He is 43-year old, Sudbury area product Shawn Frappier, who played in 193 games in the OHL as a hard-rock defenseman, mostly with the Wolves and Barrie Colts.