SUDBURY, Ont. – Set to take to the ice tonight in their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League preseason opener at Noelville Arena, the French River Rapids are busily preparing for the upcoming 2019-20 campaign.
Former Elliot Lake Wildcats bench boss Corey Bricknell has returned to the NOJHL after a professional coaching stint in Europe and will serve as French River’s new head coach.
Bricknell, along with team president and general manager Paul Frustaglio, and the rest of the Rapids entourage are aiming to build on the club’s efforts that saw them improve their overall win record in back-to-back campaigns.
With the second of 12 NOJHL produced team previews, here’s a look at the French River Rapids via the thoughts and views of their new head coach.
NOJHL: What are your expectations for the club heading into the 2019-20 season?
COREY BRICKNELL: We are looking for consistent play. We want structure and to be able to compete in every game. We are looking forward to a fresh start.
NOJHL: Give us your thoughts on the club as you near the start of another season.
CB: We have two players going to OHL camps. We have players that played high-end AAA. We believe that we are still in need of more pieces to our puzzle, but are on the right track.
NOJHL: Who are a couple of returning players you look to be play a pivotal role on the club in 2019-20?
CB: We have Reid Manning. Griffin Simpson. Cooper Bowman along with Alex Paul. We are expecting leadership on and off the ice from these players and will be playing in all areas of the game.
NOJHL: Who are some newcomers you’ve signed that you expect to perform well in the league?
CB: We have Jack Ginocchi on the back end. He is draft pick of the Niagara Ice Dogs in the OHL. Brandon Hass, our ’03, is looking very sharp on the back end too. Crafty forward Alex Moore looks good while strong power forward Cooper Lobsinger will be a guy that will be tough to play against. Plus, we have Sebastian Woods and Chase Johnson in net.
NOJHL: What goals do you have heading into the start of the regular season?
CB: We want to make the playoffs this season. Cole Burton, my assistant coach, and I want to be a solid defensive team that can capitalize on our chances up front. We want to be balanced and structured.
NOJHL: How do you feel your experience in Europe will aid in your coaching in French River in 2019-20?
CB: Coaching professionally was amazing. The pro players are professional every day. In the gym. On the ice; in the video room. I want to teach the players to have the same attitudes. Plus, I learned a lot of skill set drills for the players as individuals.
NOJHL: Do you have any closing thoughts to wrap things up?
CB: I’m very excited to work with Paul Frustaglio to build a solid team over the next few years. Also, I’m very happy with Cole Burton as my D coach. He brings a lot of skill set coaching techniques along with his power skating abilities to teach the players. Paul has done an amazing job with this team and we are in great hands.