By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
With the season start just around the corner, the Oshawa Generals are looking ahead, despite the large hole that will be left behind by the absence of head coach Bob Jones.
Recently, the club announced that due to “personal reasons” Jones would not be behind the bench to start to the 2017/2018 season.
With that said, assistant coach Greg Nemisz says the team remains in constant contact with Jones and they are confident moving forward.
“It’s definitely difficult, but he’s put the groundwork in place for us so we’re pretty much just following the protocol,” Nemisz says, who will stand behind the bench alongside fellow assistant coach Nathan McIvor to start the season.
The same was said by Kyle Keyser, the Gens’ go-to goalie for the upcoming season.
“Obviously we’d love to have Jonesy around and we miss him and we hope he’s doing well, but we’re very confident,” Keyser says.
As it stands, the team is looking at its second exhibition game of the season tonight (Sept. 13) against the Owen Sound Attack after a 4-3 shootout loss to the Kingston Frontenacs on Sept. 1.
And despite having a large majority of players under the age of 18, Nemisz says the coaching staff is confident in the group they’ve put together.
“We’re really excited with our bunch this year so that makes it a lot easier, everyone put in the work over the summer and our guys have really improved off the ice and it’s definitely showing on the ice so far,” Nemisz says.
Led by newly minted captain Jack Studnicka, the Oshawa Generals will have an offensive group with veterans Domenic Commission, Mason Kohn, Renars Krastenbergs and Erin Henderson, with support coming from some strong second-year talent Serron Noel, Alan McShane and Danil Antropov. It is a group that led the team to a 40-23-3-2 record last season and a second-round playoff appearance.
“It was definitely a valuable experience,” Nemisz says. “The guys took that into the summer with them. We had a lot show up at camp in phenomenal shape, and it’s going to translate to the ice for sure.”
With such a young group, it has many speculating that perhaps the 2018/2019 season will be the year for the Oshawa Generals to really make an impact. However, for Nemisz, the club isn’t looking any further than the current year.
“We’re focused on this year and we really believe in this team and we think we’re a really dangerous team this year,” he says.
The Generals have a series of four road games to start the season on Sept. 22 before opening the year at home on Oct. 1 against the London Knights.