By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
With training camp now underway, the final roster for the Oshawa Generals will not be decided until after their preseason games in the coming weeks. However, one thing is certain: there will be some new, young faces in the lineup.
For head coach Bob Jones, there are high expectations for the young kids who will fill the remaining roster spots.
“Obviously, coming off a Memorial Cup championship here, there’s high expectations with the Oshawa Generals,” he says. “I’d say that we have a lot of turnover this year. We had the oldest team in the league last year.”
Former captain Josh Brown, Chris Carlisle and Dakota Mermis have all moved on following their overage seasons last year and the fates of where some Generals will spend the upcoming season is unclear.
Michael Dal Colle, Matt Mistele and Hunter Smith, while all appearing on the training camp roster, all have doors open ahead of them that could lead away from a season with the Gens following NHL training camps in the coming weeks.
“We have to restart and reload this team,” Jones says. “But, we still have a nucleus of guys that have great experience and we’ve just got to make sure we put the right younger players in there to make this work.”
That core group includes goaltenders Ken Appleby and Jeremy Brodeur, along with Memorial Cup hero Anthony Cirelli, forwards Joe Manchurek, Kenny Huether, Michael Turner and Sam Harding. Stephen Desrocher, Stephen Templeton Daniel Robertson and Mitchell Vande Sompel could also anchor the back end.
Jones and his coaching staff have a lot of talent to choose from, including first round pick Jack Studnicka or fourth rounder Kyle MacLean, recent addition Jacob Graves or CHL import draftees Misha Moor and Lukas Lofquist, who all looked good at camp.
Jones says the team is looking for players who are ready to work hard and compete.
“Oshawa, as a town, is a blue collar town and they like to see a hard working team, and we want to make sure we have a team that competes every night here,” he says.
Jones is joined behind the bench by a pair of familiar faces. Eric Wellwood, who also coached the team last year alongside DJ Smith, and Greg Nemisz are both former players of his from the Windsor Spitfire.
“They were both very good players, they had pro experience, their careers were cut short due to injury, but they’re very knowledgeable guys,” Jones says. “They’ll bring a lot of enthusiasm to our team and our young guys can gravitate to these younger coaches and it should be a real nice mix for them.”
The Generals open their regular season on Sept. 25 in Guelph, followed by a Sept. 26 game against the newly formed Hamilton Bulldogs. They will close out the first weekend with their home opener on Sept. 27 against the North Bay Battalion.