Jr. Lions look forward to NCJHL season

·3 min read

MORRISBURG – For new Morrisburg Jr. Lions General Manager Cody Casselman, there is only one goal for the 2022-23 National Capital Junior Hockey League season.

“A banner at the end of the rink,” he said. “We are in to win and we’ve got a good team to do it with.”

Casselman took over as general manager of the team this season from his father Kevin, who remains team president. Looking at the upcoming season, the GM told The Leader that the organization has built on the successes from last year by adding local and regional players of various experience levels. Morrisburg finished in seventh place last season and pushed the South Grenville Rangers to a deciding game five of the first round of their playoff series before exiting the post season.

“We have a good talented group of local players, and then some talent from outside the area,” Casselman explained. “The ultimate goal is to get a banner, but it’s also to build on the program with growth in the community.”

That local connection sees an increase to the roster with seven local players from South Dundas and South Stormont including Dean Lapier from Williamsburg, who returns this season to captain the team. Also returning local players are forward Joshua Broad from Morrisburg, and defenceman Owen Fetterly from Williamsburg.

New local signings include:

Curran Gilmour – From Iroquois. Gilmour played one year in for the Brockville Braves U18 AA, and four seasons in the CCHL2/EOJHL, the last three with the Richmond Royals. He captained the team in 2021-22 and scored 15 goals and had 35 points that season.

Rylan Iwachniuk – From Ingleside, Iwachniuk played for the Cornwall Colts U18 AAA, Char-Lan Rebels in the CCHL2, and Cornwall Colts in the CCHL. For the past two seasons he played for the Nepean Raiders in the CCHL. The 6’2” centre put up four goals and nine points in the 2021-22 season.

Hudson Fetterly – From Williamsburg, played for the Rideau-St. Lawrence Kings U16AA in 2021-22, scoring three goals and seven assists. The youngest player on the team (2006) is not the smallest though. The 16 year old is a 6’ tall defenceman for the team.

Jaeden Phifer – A 5’10 forward from Morrisburg, he captained the South Dundas Lions Midget B team in 2019-2020.

The team signed new players this year including:

Keon Troccoli-Roik – Played three seasons with the Ottawa West Golden Knights in the CCHL2/EOJHL. In 2021-22 he was the top goal scorer for the Golden Knights with 30 goals and had 63 points.

Conner Manderson – Played four seasons in the CCHL2/EOHJL, three with the Westport Rideaus and last season captained the Athens Aeros. The 5’8” forward put up 15 goals and 39 points in 2021-22.

Returning players to the team from last season include Ethan Mahoney and Owen Mahoney from Brockville, Malcolm Cooper, Landen Sinfield, and Justice Brownlee from Cornwall. Between the pipes to start the season is the Ottawa goaltending duo of Ben Cherkas and Andrew Brooks, each of whom played last season for the Lions.

There are no changes to the coaching staff this season, with Lance Hodgson back as head coach, Jeff Hyndman and Justin Shay as assistant coaches, and Chris Herrington as head trainer/equipment manager.

“We’re going to see an improvement when we start in the league showcase this weekend,” Casselman said. “We’re a stronger team and have put together a good group for the season.”

The Lions open their 2022-23 season in Gatineau on September 24 at the league’s “showcase” where all 10 teams play their season openers. They play the 2021-22 champions Clarence Castors that day. Morrisburg will then play their first home game on October 2.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader