The Timmins Rock have signed 2000-birth-year forward Cameron Chisholm, shown here taking up position in front of New Liskeard Cubs goalie Jake McGuire as defenceman Tristan McClinchey looks on during a GNML game at the McIntyre Arena on Sept. 23. The Rock are hoping the 5-10, 160-pound Timmins native can fill a role similar to the one Evan Kentish-Stack did during the 2017-18 NOJHL campaign. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS
By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)
TIMMINS – The Timmins Rock may have found the ideal clone for Evan Kentish-Stack as they prepare for the start of training camp on Sunday, Aug. 19.
Kentish-Stack (49, 9-5-14, 24), of course, was one of the top penalty killers and checking forwards in the NOJHL during the 2017-18 campaign.
Now, with Kentish-Stack heading off to study kinesiology Western University in London this fall, the Rock have signed his former Timmins Majors teammate, 2000-birth-year forward Cameron Chisholm, who played a similar role with the GNML squad last season.
With the Rock roster sitting at 25 players — and a number of others expected to push for jobs when training camp opens — Chisholm (47, 12-17-29, 42) knows he will have to work hard day-in and day-out to secure a spot in the lineup on a regular basis.
“I am going to have to work hard for my minutes and work hard all season,” he said.
“I want to make sure I get into the lineup and stay in the lineup.”
Chisholm has no problem being compared to his good friend Kentish-Stack.
“Me and Kenty are good buddies,” he said.
“We have played lots of hockey together over the years. We have been linemates and we kind of play the same style.”
Chisholm has not had a chance to chat with Kentish-Stack since he signed with the Rock, but that is near the top of his to-do list.
“For sure, I am going to have a chat with him,” he said.
“I know he will give me some good pointers. He is a good guy for stuff like that. He has always been a good leader.”
Chisholm, who was part of the Majors’ resurrection last season is looking forward to being part of what is shaping up to be a strong Rock roster in 2018-19.
“I know it is going to be a great experience and I am looking forward to meeting all the new guys and battling hard every night,” he said.
The 5-10, 160 pound forward is proud of what he and his teammates were able to accomplish with the Majors during the 2017-18 GNML campaign.
“It really felt rewarding after what the team had gone through the previous season,” Chisholm said.
“That had been really frustrating for a lot of the guys on the team, but some of us stuck around and we had really great coaching. It was a really good way to end my midget career, that’s for sure.”
With the Rock training camp scheduled to get underway with medicals on Sunday, Aug. 19, Chisholm plans to put in a lot of work over the next couple of weeks to ensure he is ready.
“I will be working hard in the gym and trying to improve my conditioning, as well,” he said.
“I am also going to shoot a lot of pucks.”
Rock coach Corey Beer admits he sees a lot of similarities to Kentish-Stack when he watches Chisholm play.
“I think that is a great comparable,” he said.
“Obviously, if he can work his way into the type of situation Kenty was in when he finished out the season, he will be quite the hockey player.”
Clearly the Rock have been trying to bring in players with a great deal of upside and character this off-season.
“We have been trying to bring in good quality people, who are capable of jumping up in the lineup,” Beer said.
“Cameron is no different. He is the kind of guy who can come in and grind, play some heavier minutes, block shots and play on the PK.
“He also has the skill level to maybe be able to complement some of our skill players on a line and make some plays.
“I was very impressed with the season he had with the Majors.”
Far from the biggest player on the Majors, Chisholm had a knack for going into the corners and coming out with the puck against larger opponents.
“Obviously, the job Brandon Perry and his staff did with Cameron and the rest of that team last year, paid off with a great season,” Beer said.
“Cameron is a guy who, stature wise, is not going to scare anyone with the type of frame he has, but he is fearless and relentless in the corners. He is a workhorse that way and that is something that is very appealing about his game.
“As a coaching staff, you can never have enough of those guys who work hard and are willing to pay the price.
“We will have some guys on the team that he can kind of get mentored by, as well, guys like A.J. Campbell and Linden Spencer who in their minor hockey days played a little bit higher up in the lineup but when they got to Junior ‘A,’ had to work a little bit harder for their opportunities and play different roles.
“If he can learn from guys like that and kind of grow his game, it will be a good thing for our lineup. I love our flexibility right now. It is pretty exciting to look down our depth chart and see the different options we have.”
The fact that Chisholm elevated his game during the 2018 playoffs with the Majors, scoring three goals in four games, did not go unnoticed by Rock management.
“It was nice to see he was able to raise his level of play,” Beer said.
“It is really reassuring he is able to elevate his game because if your top guys get shut down, you need depth in your lineup to be able to score and contribute against the other team’s third or fourth lines.
Chisholm was one of the players who attended the Rock prospect camp in Oshawa back in June.
“He showed extremely well during the camp and obviously we are very happy to have him on board,” Beer said.
With 25 guys now signed prior to the start of training camp and another six to 10 expected to push them for jobs, things should be interesting when the team hits the ice on Monday, Aug. 20.
“I think we are going to have a healthy competition,” Beer said.