By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)
TIMMINS – The Timmins Rock’s search for offence has once again taken the NOJHL squad to the Ridge Meadows Flames, of the PIJHL.
With captain Jordan Rendle graduating to Trinity Western University, of the BCIHL, the Rock have acquired forward Halen Cordoni from the Flames in exchange for a player development fee.
Officially listed at 5-9 and 200 pounds on the Flames’ website, Cordoni (42, 16-20-36, 50) — who will turn 20 in November — is shorter, but heavier than Rendle (52, 38-33-71, 77), who capped off a two-year run in Timmins by leading the Rock to the NOJHL East Division finals this past season.
Both Cordoni, a native of Pitt Meadows, B.C., and Rendle, who was born in nearby Surrey, shoot right, skate well and bring a lot of skill to the rink.
And if you compare Rendle’s final season with the Flames (40, 15-22-37, 133, in 2014-15), you will find his numbers are eerily similar to those put up by Cordoni this past season.
Even the totals the duo — Cordoni (9, 4-4-8, 4), Rendle (10, 4-4-8, 16) — put up with their respective teams during the 2017 playoffs were almost identical.
Cordoni (39, 8-6-14, 6) and Rendle were actually teammates with the Flames in 2014-15. The 2015-16 campaign (42, 10-23-33, 8) saw the new Rock forward post significantly better numbers.
Rock general manager Kevin Peever is confident Cordoni will be able to make a smooth transition to the NOJHL from the PIJHL.
“He was recommended to us by our Western Canada scout, Dave Rendle (father of Jordan), and his stats are very similar to what Jordan produced in the PIJHL,” Peever said.
“He has the same kind of work ethic and the same kind of character. He is very motivated and we believe he will come in and provide an element of leadership.
“Halen does have a little bit more muscle than Jordan and we are hoping he will be able to play a physical role and get to the dirty areas.”
Initially, the Rock are envisioning a Top 6 role for Cordoni, but that is subject to change depending the final makeup of the roster.
“Depending on how the lines roll, he will be able to play anywhere from the first line to the third line,” Peever said.
“It will depend on who we are playing against and the type of role (new coach) Corey (Beer) wants him to play on any given night. He has the ability to play more of a shutdown role, as well.”
Cordoni will become the fifth member of the Flames to suit up with the Rock, joining Rendle and blue-liners Brendan Campbell, Joe Olson and Andrew Castagna.
With the addition of Cordoni, joining Wayne Mathieu, Stewart Parnell, Alexandre Brisson, Nicholas Hway, Tyler Planetta and Eric Hulford, the Rock now have seven forwards on their their roster.
It also features five blue-liners, including Jared Hester, James Redmond and Lucas Dolanjski, but Grant McClellan and James Watier have not indicated if they intend to return for second seasons.
Newcomer Brendan Bishop currently shares the crease with 2016-17 backup Jeff Veitch.
“We want to be a very deep team,” Peever said.
“We are currently trying to recruit a few Top 6 forwards so we can roll three high-end lines and then have a fourth line that can be a shutdown line. That would be the perfect scenario.
“We believe we are fairly close to signing a couple of more Top 6 forwards and we are also looking at possibly bringing in a few more very skilled defencemen, as well as some younger defencemen we can develop for the future.”
Peever is hoping to have competition at all positions when the Rock open training camp on Aug. 17 at the McIntyre Arena.
“We would like to have 30 to 35 guys at camp,” he said.
“That would make things very competitive. We don’t want anyone to get complacent. Even though they are signed, we want them to still have to battle for their positions.”
The GM doesn’t want to leave any rock unturned when it comes to searching for talent.
“You get a lot of what I would call late bloomers, who put a lot of work into their off seasons, come to camp and you say ‘wow.’ You can see a real transition into them becoming better players over the course of a summer and we are looking for those types of players.”
A prime example would be Stewart Parnell, who was a walk-on during the Rock’s 2016 training camp.
Parnell was coming off a solid 2015-16 campaign (34, 19-11-30, 38) with the GNML’s Timmins Majors, but was viewed as a long shot to make the squad.
Not only did the 1999-birth-year forward make the squad, he became a key contributor at both ends of the ice and put up some pretty impressive rookie numbers (54, 10-32-42, 30).
Parnell (10, 6-2-8, 4) was arguably the Rock’s best player in the 2017 playoffs.
“That’s exactly what we are going to be looking for, a Stewart Parnell type of player,” Peever said.
“We are hoping we can find another two or three Stewart Parnells during this year’s camp.”
NOJHL NOTES — The second-annual Timmins Rock Golf Tournament — featuring NHL legends Wendel Clark and Billy Smith — is just over two weeks away. Set for Spruce Needles Golf Club on Thursday, July 20, their is limited space for the four-person scramble ($125 per person), which will feature a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Those who can’t make the golf portion of the event can still attend the prime rib dinner ($60) that will follow. To register for either email [email protected], or contact the golf club … The Cochrane Crunch continue to fine-tune their roster for the 2017-18 campaign, as well, as they have traded 1997-birth-year defenceman Quinn Robelle to the Humbolt Broncos, of the SJHL, in exchange for 1997-birth-year forward Josh Roberts. At 6-2 and 170 pounds, the Star City, Sask., native brings some added size to the Crunch roster. Roberts (50, 4-10-14, 6, in 2016-17) did not put up big numbers during his two years with the Broncos. Robelle (58, 7-24-31, 38), a Lutz, Fla., native, started the 2016-17 campaign with the Elliot Lake Wildcats, was traded to the Dryden Ice Dogs, of the SIJHL, and then the Crunch … The Blind River Beavers have traded 1998-birth-year goalie Myles Hektor to the Kanata Lasers, of the CCHL, for 1998-birth-year blue-liner David McKinnon.