by Rob Sadler
General Manager, North Dundas Rockets
The North Dundas Rockets opened the 2018-2019 pre-season with a strong turn out for both the teams main conditioning camp when 30 kids skated hoping to find a roster spot and 118 kids turned out for the 1st annual minor hockey conditioning camp in Winchester.
As an organization we were very excited to have great numbers at both events. We had a strong local presence in kids trying out for the main team, and an unbelievable turn out for our minor hockey development camp. We would like to thank the community once again for the tremendous support.
The Rockets would also like to announce its leadership group this year starting the the 2018-2019 team captain, which will be South Mountain native Bradley Stitt. Drafted in the 2nd round of the CCHL 1 draft in 2012 by the Carleton Place Canadians, Brad went on to win a CCHL 2 Championship with the Casselman Vikings in 2014-2015. After moving away for the school and playing for Brantford, Simcoe and Dundas in the PJHL, he came home to the Rockets last season recording 30 pts in 33 regular season games and another 16 pts in 18 playoff games as the Rockets stretched to the NCJHL finals. Brad is a 200ft hockey player and has all the support and confidence of the organization to help the club so another successful season.
The first alternate captain will be Chesterville native Brodie Barkley, who was also drafted in the 2013 CCHL 1 round 3 by the Pembroke Lumber Kings. Brodie played for the Prescott Flyers of the CCHL 2 in 2016-2017 before returning to his hometown as a staple on the blue line for the Rockets last season recording 28 pts in 33 games. Brodie and Brad Stitt were the only two records to play every game for the team in 2017-2018. Brodie brings speed, agility, and physical play every time he is on the ice. His consistent work ethic is exactly what the Rockets need to get going this season.
The second alternate captain, in his third year will the Rockets, will be Landon Veenstra. Work ethic, toughness and commitment are the 3 words that come time mind when describing Landon as a hockey player. He missed most of the playoff run last season with a concussion, yet still dressed to support our team in the finals against Papineauville. With 50 pts in 32 career games with the Rockets Landon should slot back in as a major contributor this season.
The third alternate captain this year will be Connor Roth. One of the few real game breakers playing in the NCJHL, Connor can explode offensively on any given night. He joined the Rockets last season after winning an NCJHL championship in Embrun and had an immediate impact recording 47 pts in 23 regular season games while adding another 25 pts in 16 playoffs games. He brings high end offensive skill, stays out of the penalty box and will be the focal point of every team in this league when playing against the Rockets. As an organization we are thrilled that Connor has found a home here and look forward to watching him play again this season.
The Rockets first exhibition game is scheduled for September 9 in Winchester against the Morrisburg Lions at 2 p.m. The following week the Rockets travel to Morrisburg on September 14 and finish the exhibition schedule in Winchester on the September 16 at 8 p.m. hosting the Bytown Royals.
The Rockets are also hosting their annual golf tournament on September 8 at the Cedar Glen Golf Course in Williamsburg, anyone interested should contact Ryan Byers at 613 558 9083.
As an organization we are looking forward to getting the season underway, with a couple additions to the roster and a strong turn out this fall things are shaping up in a positive fashion. The Rockets would also like to thank all the community sponsors that have stepped up to the plate this season for us. Without your help this junior hockey program simply doesn’t run. We hope we, as a group, can earn your support as we make a bid for another successful season of Rockets hockey in North Dundas.
Leftover from the end of last Season
The North Dundas Rockets had a busy off season following their disappointing loss in Game 7 to the Papineauville Vikings in the National Capital Hockey League Finals last year and are beginning to ramp up after a short off season rest.
League Re-alignment and Divisions
The NCJHL has welcomed two New Franchises this upcoming season in the Ottawa Valley Lightning and the West Carleton Inferno; and will be operating in two divisions, and East and West.
The East division will include the Bytown Royals, Gatineau Hull Volants, Saint Isidore Eagles, Vankleek Hill Cougars and the Clarence Castors. The West Division will include the Prescott Rangers, Metcalfe Jets, Ottawa Valley Lightning, West Carleton Inferno, The Morrisburg Lions and the North Dundas Rockets.
Trades and Acquisitions
The organization would like to announce that it has made three significant off season trades, acquiring the playing rights to David Toppa, Jeremie Perreault and Danny Plourde-Grenon.
David Toppa played the last two season in Thetford Mines for the Filons recording 117 pts in 105 games played of the past 3 seasons in what is equivalent to the CCHL 1 here in Ontario. he had 55pts in 31 games in his final season for Thetford
Jeremie Perreault was the line mate of NCJHL Rookie of the Year, and current Rocket, Justin Lefebvre throughout their midget years. A great skater and physical presence, we expect Jeremie to slot back in beside Justin with some instant chemistry this season
Danny Plourde-Grenon won an NCJHL championship with Papineauville last year on their blue line recording 22 pts in 18 games for the Vikings to go along with 129 penalty minutes. A big body that can contribute offensively with Championship experience will be a nice addition to the line up.
In terms of returning players, a healthy group is coming back which includes the likes of, Connor Roth, Brad Stitt, Landon Veenstra, Tom Fingler, Justin lefebvre, Jack Vankessel, Mckay Balaton, Tyson Sherrer, Aaron Turcott, Reilly Tondreau, Brodie Barkley, Tanner Barnett, Matt Cowley to name a few.
As an organization we are looking forward to getting another year underway, the atmosphere and community involvement last year was a phenomenal experience for everyone; we are hoping to earn your support again.