SUDBURY, Ont. – Coming off a RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A championship as a member of the Cobourg Cougars (OJHL) staff in May, Corey Beer will look to continue his winning ways now that he’s joined the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Timmins Rock as their new head coach.
Hired back on June 1 after a five-year run as an assistant with Cobourg, Beer arrives in Timmins to take over as bench boss of the Rock from NOJHL coaching legend Paul Gagne, who retired after many successful years in the league with Timmins and Iroquois Falls.
Along with Kevin Peever, who has added the general manager’s role with the club, the duo will look to boost the fortunes in Timmins and improve on the club’s solid 36-16-3-1 record from last season in which the Rock also led the NOJHL in attendance.
With two exhibition contests already under their belt and boasting a win and an overtime setback in those match-ups, Timmins will wrap-up preseason play with a home-and-home set vs. the Hearst Lumberjacks by the end of the Labour Day weekend.
Here’s a look at the Timmins Rock along with thoughts from Corey Beer in this the fifth of 12 NOJHL team preseason previews.
Head Coach – Corey Beer
General Manager – Kevin Peever
NOJHL: What are your expectations for the club heading into the 2017-18 season?
COREY BEER: I think for our club we’re going to look to be competitive and play a fast brand of hockey. Obviously there is some very strong competition, not only in the league, but especially in our division, so were going to look to keep close and try to compete with the top teams every night.
NOJHL: Give us your thoughts on what you’ve seen in on-ice sessions and what you expect to see in future skates heading into opening night.
CB: Thus far very impressed with the speed and intensity on display. Our guys have done a tremendous job taking the info our staff has given them and implementing it onto the ice. Were certainly trying to push the pace as much as possible and so far everyone is responding very well.
NOJHL: Who are a couple of returning players you expect big things from?
CB: I think anytime you can return three veteran defencemen you’re going to be in great shape. Jarred Hester, James Watier, and Grant McClellan are going to play key role for us this year and we’ve been very impressed with the type of shape and skill they’ve brought back. They are certainly going to be responsible for developing their own games to a higher level and helping grow our younger defencemen; something they are eager to do. Up front the likes of Stewart Parnell, Wayne Mathieu, Alexandre Brisson and Tyler Planetta are showing already they’ve put the work in this off-season and its helping us keep the pace up. They are going to be key contributors offensively and play in spots against opposing teams best players. It’s exciting from our end to have such a key group of returnees.
NOJHL: Who are some newcomers you’ve signed that you’ve been impressed with early on?
CB: In terms of new players to come in we have quite a few so I won’t get in depth on each one, but all have come in and have impressed thus far. Speed, skill, size have all been on display and were excited to continue to see them grow.
NOJHL: What are you looking to build upon following in the footsteps of long-time NOJHL coach and GM Paul Gagne?
CB: Paul has obviously done a phenomenal job here in the NOJHL for a very long time. He’s been one of the elite coaches in this league and has certainly set out a very high standard of success. I’m simply looking to continue on that same path. The momentum generated from last season has kept our returning guys energized and they are very polished players in huge part because of how Paul has sculpted them. I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to follow in behind a great coach and be part of a great organization.
NOJHL: What goals do you have heading into the start of the regular season?
CB: I think in terms of goals were looking to try to be a hard-working competitive group that’s tough to play against every night. We haven’t laid out set goals as were more interested in seeing how we progress as individuals and as a team. At this point we like where were at and I think it’s going to be great to get the season underway.
NOJHL: Give us some of your thoughts on winning a RBC Cup with Cobourg and what are some of the things you’ll be looking to instill into the Rock program.
CB: Obviously the RBC Cup is the pinnacle for Jr. A hockey in this country. It was such an incredible week of hockey and to basically run the table made us feel like we were very deserving of the championship. I think the one thing that was so evident was the speed of the games. There was no wasted time on scrums or broken plays, everything was structured and the execution was precise. It’s something already that we’ve stressed through camp. I think we’ve adopted a lot of systems and plays from the other teams in that tournament as it’s never a bad idea to learn from the other best teams in the country. All-in-all it was very special to be a part of a group that will always have that memory to cherish together and now it’s exciting to try to replicate that passion and excitement here in Timmins now.
Aug. 25 vs. Cochrane @ Iroquois Falls (6-5 OT loss)
Aug. 27 vs. Cochrane @ Iroquois Falls (4-3 Win)
Aug. 31 vs. Hearst 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Sept. 3 @ Hearst 7 p.m. (Claude Larose Arena)
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