MORRISBURG – It may be the summer, but the Morrisburg Jr. C Lions are already well into planning for their next season.
The Lions, coming off their best finish since moving to the National Capital Junior Hockey League in 2015, announced their main training camp will open August 27. The camp will begin at the Benson Centre in Cornwall due to ice availability in Morrisburg.
The club has also announced a number of returning staff and players for the 2022-23 season.
Head coach Lance Hodgson, and assistant coaches Jeff Hyndman, and Justin Shay will return to the bench. The trio helped guide the Lions to seventh place in the league last season and the team’s first playoff appearance in four seasons.
Morrisburg named returning player Dean Lapier as team captain for the 2022-23 campaign. In his second and final year with the team, Lapier will close out his junior hockey career at home. He served as alternate captain last season.
The team’s top-scoring forward, Justice Brownlee is also returning this season. Brownlee has led the Lions the past two seasons in goals and points. Since joining the team full time in 2019, Brownlee has scored 35 goals and 20 assists for 55 points, including 12 power play goals.
New additions to the team so far this year include local defenceman Curran Gilmour, who was signed from the Richmond Royals, and forward Keon Troccoli-Roik from the Ottawa West Golden Knights. Gilmour played three seasons in the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League (Jr. B), scoring 22 goals and 36 assists. Troccoli-Roik played three seasons in the EOJHL, scoring 36 goals and 40 assists.
The Lions exited the 2022 playoffs after pushing the South Grenville Rangers to the brink of elimination in the first round. Morrisburg finished the pandemic-impacted 2021-22 season with a record of 7 wins, 15 losses and one tie.
Looking ahead to the 2022-23 season, the NCJHL will return to a 10 team format with the addition of a new team in Westport. The Village of Westport purchased the mothballed Bytown Royals franchise and relocated it to the village.
The village announced July 6 the Jr. C team will be known as the Westport Jr. C Rideaus. The village also hosts the Westport Rideaus, which play in the EOJHL.
The NCJHL is expected to drop the puck on its regular season at the end of September.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader