Forward Harry Clark, shown battling along the boards for a loose puck behind the Kirkland Lake net with Gold Miners D-man Lucas Renzoni during an NOJHL game at the McIntyre Arena on Feb. 26, has officially signed with the Timmins Rock. Clark, who spent the 2019-20 season with the GNML’s Timmins Majors, got into four games with the Rock as an affiliate player. FILE PHOTO/THE DAILY PRESS
With the puck drop for the start of the 2020-21 NOJHL regular season just weeks away, the Timmins Rock are continuing to fine tune their roster in anticipation of the long-awaited event.
Three new forwards — including one who should be quite familiar to local fans — have been added, while one newcomer who had previously been announced has opted to return home to be closer to family.
Harry Clark, a 2003-birth-year right-hand shooting Timmins native, saw limited action (4, 1-1-2, 0) with the Rock as an affiliate player during the 2019-20 campaign.
He spent the bulk of the season with the GNML’s Timmins Majors (38, 16-9-25, 20).
“He got into four games with us and ended up scoring a goal against Cochrane,” said Rock coach Corey Beer.
“He acquitted himself pretty well. He has a good skill set and he is a pretty heady player, in terms of the offensive side of the game.
“There will be an adjustment for him in terms of picking up the defensive stuff, but since camp opened he has been great on the defensive stuff.
“So, it will be just more attention to detail from what he would have had to be accountable for in the Midget loop.”
Officially listed at 5-6 and 125 pounds on the Majors’ roster, Clark isn’t the biggest newcomer to the Rock lineup and the team had not necessarily been thinking of him for the 2020-21 campaign.
“We allowed him to come to our development camp and get his feet wet, to see how he was progressing,” Beer said.
“Then, talking to (Majors coach) Brandon Perry, he just kept checking off every box we were asking for from him.
“He has got the skill. He has got the speed. He is a tremendous young man in terms of his day-to-day attributes — being a good kid, a good learner. He is always asking questions and striving to be better.
“You start going down the list and you say, he doesn’t look out of place and he keeps scoring goals in these inter-squad scrimmages.
“What else does a kid have to do to earn a spot? So, we decided to make the move and sign him full time.
“I think it is incredibly well deserved, especially for a player of a younger age. Not only are we excited about him for this year, but the future is extremely bright for him.
“You see some of the guys who have been local players for a couple of years now. Two who come to my mind who have been in this program for four years now are Derek Seguin and Riley Robitaille.
“If Clarkie ends up having any kind of year like those two, we are going to be pretty lucky to have that type of player.”
Brendan Bauer, a left-hand shooting 2001-birth-year forward from Waterloo, split the 2019-20 season between his hometown Siskins (15, 0-2-2, 6), of the GOJHL, the Cambridge Redhawks (14, 3-2-5, 14), of the GOJHL, and the Paris Mounties (7, 4-5-9, 0), of the PJCHL.
At 6-2 and 181 pounds, Bauer will provide an element of size to the Rock lineup.
“He comes to us through a bit of a connection with Tyler Schwindt,” Beer said.
“Brendan played a bit of Junior ‘B’ last year for Cambridge, a bit of Junior ‘C’ and they he was kind of trying out, out west there, I want to say Nipawin.
“It didn’t work out, so he was coming back and Schwinny kind of gave us the heads up on him and Peeves (general manager Kevin Peever) connected with him and the next thing you know we are bringing him out here and he is getting himself as acclimated as quickly as possible.
“He is a bigger body, skates pretty well. He is a kid I think has some pretty good offence in him but he is certainly going to help through the depth in the lineup.
“The 19-year-old experience factor will certainly be on his side. He is not going to be rattled by anything. He has played some Junior hockey before.
“And strength wise, we are going to be playing no contact but how do you even get around a guy that size.
“He is almost a left-hand version of Riley Robitaille. Brendan is going to be the same type of player. The puck-possession skills are going to be huge and he has a good shot.
“All of those little small things will, I think, contribute to him having a pretty good season for us.”
Tyler Patterson, a 2004-birth-year left-shooting forward from Clarington, spend the 2019-20 campaign with his hometown Toros (36, 9-13-22, 20), of the ETAHL U16.
“It is funny how small the hockey world is,” Beer said.
“I worked with him two summers ago at Twist Whitby, which is now Move 365. I was basically an assistant skills coach for that program.
“Patty was one of the younger guys there. I want to say he was a Minor Bantam at the time and he was skating with the younger group.
“He was a young kid but he was clearly the best player on the ice for that age group. He looked great.
“Two years later, he has gone through his draft year and it didn’t work out for him and there was a chance he would be interested in coming here.
“You realize he was a heck of a player back then. He had a tough year in Minor Midget with a team that didn’t have a great season but that doesn’t change the perspective of him, as a player.
“He is going to get his feet wet here in Junior hockey, with a great team and a program that is going to help his game.
“It is an opportunity for him with somebody like myself, who already knows him, his strengths and weaknesses. He has already experienced how I am and I think that is a great thing for a player to have.
“The great thing for him is he has a great support staff in terms of the rest of the players here who are older and have been through these types of situations. They can help him out.”
The coach sees a lot of upside in Patterson, once he gets acclimated to the NOJHL.
“He plays a skilled, grinder type game,” Beer said.
“He is going to be able to look at Derek Seguin and say, ‘Okay, that’s who I aspire to be,’ and I think that’s a great thing because they have kind of the same build and stuff.
“I think it is going to be an easy transition for him, with that size and skill level.”
Meanwhile, Kyle Caron — cousin of former Rock forward/blue-liner Phil Caron — has opted to leave the team and return home.
The Rock had acquired the younger Caron, 16 years old, from the Cambridge Hawks, of the Alliance U16, back in July.
“It was just a situation where he needed to get himself back home,” Beer said.
With the start of the NOJHL’s 2020-21 regular season now just weeks away, two veteran blue-liners who had remained at home — with the team’s permission — have arrived in camp.
Eric Moreau (55, 1-16-17, 22), a Penetanguishene native, and Zachary Fortin (20, 1-9-10, 8), who hails from Thunder Bay, are back working out with their teammates.
“The whole squad is in town,” Beer said.
Following is the Rock roster heading into the start of the 2020-21 NOJHL regular season:
Goalies — Tyler Masternak, Gavin McCarthy.
Blue-liners — Moreau, Fortin, Brendan Boyce, Evan Beaudry, Lucas Branch, Christopher Innes, Felix Cadieux-Fredette, Bode Dunford.
Forwards — Seguin, Robitaille, Gabinien Kioki, Tyler Gilberds, Josh Dickson, Cameron Kosurko, Schwindt, Zach Smith, Landon Deforge, Clark, Nicolas Pigeon, Henry Brock, Patterson, Bauer.