New Muskie boys’ hockey coach eager to get going
A month away from getting his team into action, Jamie Davis is like a kid counting down the days until Christmas.
And the first-year head coach of the Muskie boys’ hockey team is fairly certain he’s going to like what he finds under the tree this season.
“Most of the kids I’ve worked with before and the others I know from seeing them around the community,” noted Davis.
“When this team comes together, it’s going to be exciting,” he vowed.
“As coaches, we’re fired up.”
Davis’ first Muskie roster is stacked with experience, with 16 of the 20 players in Grades 11 and 12. But the bench boss said that wasn’t by design.
“We wanted the 20 best players available,” he stressed. “It didn’t matter to me if they were in Grade 9 or Grade 12.
“The majority of the guys that came out were Grade 11 or 12 guys,” Davis added. “I expected some younger guys to be out for camp.
“But that’s fine,” he reasoned. “I’m more than happy with what we’ve got. This is a solid group.
“I’ve got high expectations.”
The group of forwards leans more towards the speedy side and features the likes of Grade 12 returnees Tyler Mosbeck, Braden Webb, and Nolan Vold.
But Davis was quick to note the overall potential of his entire crew up front.
“I feel we have 12 solid forwards,” he remarked. “We have lots of depth up there. . . .
“We’ve got a lot of firepower on the front end.
“Everyone’s going to have to do their part,” Davis added. “I’ve stressed with them that no one is more important than anybody else.”
Defensively, Fort High has a pair of Grade 12s in Josh Gouin and Aaron McDowall, with the rest of the blueline corps in Grade 11.
“We’re going to have a solid puck-moving group back there,” said Davis.
“We’ve got three returnees and three new guys coming up,” he noted.
“They’re going to have an opportunity to log a lot of ice time.”
Between the pipes, returning goalie Jonah Johnson hasn’t been idle this fall—suiting up as an emergency back-up for the SIJHL’s Fort Frances Lakers with Jordan Cartney out since Sept. 25 due to injury.
And Johnson may be very busy in the early stages of the NorWOSSA season as fellow netminder and first-time Muskie Derek Kaemingh will spend the next four-six weeks recovering from an illness that required medical treatment.
“I’m working on Plan ‘B’ right now,” Davis said about his ongoing search for another goalie.
“It’s been quite impressive for Johnson,” he added. “Three years ago, he was playing ‘A’ Bantam.
“Now he’s a high school player and getting called up to a Junior ‘A’ team.”
Davis is uncertain what his squad will face in terms of NorWOSSA competition this season, but mustered a few predictions.
“We’re going to wait and see,” he remarked.
“But both Kenora teams, Beaver Brae and St. Thomas Aquinas, were fairly solid last year and will have nice squads,” Davis said.
“And you always expect Dryden to be there.”
Fort High will begin pre-season play with a three-game series against the Thunder Bay Kings Midget ‘AAA’ team.
“I know the Muskies played the Kings a few years back,” said Davis.
“Over the summer, we were looking for some more exhibition games and their coach called me,” he explained.
“I thought it would be a great way to start the year off for our guys.”
The first game will take place Nov. 8 in Atikokan, with the next two slated for Nov. 9-10 at the new Couchiching First Nation Arena.
The Muskies will open their NorWOSSA schedule Nov. 12 in Dryden against the Eagles.