SUDBURY, Ont. – The French River Rapids of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League are starting to take steps in the right direction.
Coming off a 10-win and 23-point improvement made last season, the club looks to make an even-bigger jump in the NOJHL standings in the upcoming campaign.
With new head coach Shawn Frappier on board, he’ll attempt to take the Rapids to the next level.
French River’s players had ample opportunity to show their skills to their new bench boss in the preseason getting in seven exhibition contests that saw them produce a 2-4-1 record.
The Rapids will have a stiff test to begin the season as they head to Cochrane Friday to take on the defending NOJHL-champion Crunch in their opener Friday night.
They did however just send Cochrane to overtime in semifinal action at the Polar Bear Classis preseason tournament over the weekend.
Here’s a look at the French River Rapids, in this the 10th of 12 league team previews produced by the NOJHL, in tandem with its member clubs.
NOJHL: What are your expectations for the club heading into the 2018-19 season?
SHAWN FRAPPIER: It is to help develop quality young men on and off the ice.
NOJHL: What did you see from your squad in the preseason?
S.F.: The core group of players are driving change, both on, and off the ice.
NOJHL: Who are a couple of returning players you expect big things from?
S.F.: We expect solid contributions from defenceman Connor Loft and Will Frustaglio along with forwards Levi Siau and Marc-Andre Quevillon. Siau led the team offensively last season and impressed offensively playing at a point-per-game pace. He had a team-best 22 goals and 48 points and was tied for third in the league in goals among rookies. He was also Top 10 in rookie points. Frustaglio scored nine times and saw his 27 assists led the team. Loft had seven goals and 24 points from the back end while Quevillion was solid defensively in his first season in the league.
NOJHL: How did you new players look in training camp and in your exhibition games?
S.F.: Every newcomer we have has made an impression and we are pleased with their skill set, compete level and work ethic.
NOJHL: What will you expect from your team as you begin your first season with the club in French River and what style of game will you look to instill into the Rapids?
S.F.: We want to have a respectful, hard-working, unselfish, team-first attitude.
NOJHL: What other goals do you have heading into the start of the regular year?
S.F.: I’m looking to instill a speedy, positional style while also being able to make in game adjustments. We also want to get each player to believe in the system and foster a winning culture here in French River.