The Timmins Rock have made a significant upgrade to their blue-line by adding a defender with Major Junior experience in two leagues to their D corps.
Timmins native Phil Caron — a 2000-birth-year blue-liner who spent time with the Soo Greyhounds (25, 0-2-2, 6) and the Guelph Storm (1, 0-0-0, 0) in the OHL and the Gatineau Olympiques (6, 0-0-0, 0) in QMJHL — is coming home after his rights were acquired from the Cambridge Redhawks (21, 5-10-15, 22), of the GOJHL, in exchange for a player development fee.
Meanwhile, the Rock have also announced the return of another veteran from the 2018-19 squad with the inking of 2001-birth-year forward Gage Tremblay.
Caron, of course, is no stranger to the NOJHL after turning in a stellar campaign with the Iroquois Falls Eskis (now the Hearst Lumberjacks), during the 2016-17 season (53, 7-34-41, 18).
At 5-8 and 170 pounds, the right-hand shooting graduate of the Timmins Eagles (NOBHL) played one year of Minor Midget with the Vaughn Kings (65, 5-13-18, 20), of the GTMMHL, before making the jump to the Eskis.
Rock coach Corey Beer is thrilled to see what Caron can bring to the Rock back end for the 2019-20 campaign.
“Obviously, he had a great year a few years back in our league as a 16 year old with Iroquois Falls,” he said.
“He is real offensive minded and an elite skater as a right-hand shooting defenceman.
“He will be able to help us break out of our zone easier and play on the power play, create offence that way with his vision and offensive instincts.
“He is a guy who has played Major Junior and he will be a big upgrade to our back end. He is a veteran guy and a Timmins boy. He checks all the boxes with the way we play a puck possession type of game.
“He is perfectly suited for it and we can’t wait to see him in a Rock uniform.”
Tremblay turned in a solid regular season (25, 10-8-18, 4) for the Rock after being acquired from CCHL’s Kanata Lasers on Nov. 23, 2018, in exchange for fellow forward Austin Holmes.
Unfortunately for Rock fans, however, his 2019 playoff action (2, 0-0-0, 0) was limited due to injury.
At 6-2 and 184 pounds, the left-hand shooting Tremblay brings a nice combination of size and skill to the Rock lineup.
“I think Gage was just scratching the surface in terms of what he can offer this team as a 17 year old last year,” Beer said.
“It really hurt us when we lost him in the playoffs to be quite honest.
“He is a powerful forward and we really could have used some secondary scoring out of him.
“The way he looked at prospect camp (in Oshawa in June), he was the best player on the ice down there and with his size, his skating ability and the way he shoots, I think there is massive offensive potential for him this season.
“We absolutely love him and I think he has star written all over him. He has been great ever since he got here. He knows how to score goals and you can never have too many of those kind of guys.
“Again, I think his game is very well suited to the style we want to play.”
Unlike Caron, Tremblay does not have Major Junior experience but he was drafted 289th overall in the 15th round of the 2017 OHL Priority Selection by the Flint Firebirds.
With the signing of Caron and Tremblay, now have eight defenceman, 15 forwards and a pair of goaltenders officially on the roster heading into training camp, scheduled to open on Friday, Aug. 16, at the McIntyre Arena.
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For the second-straight year, Beer will serve as an assistant coach on Martin Dagenais’ staff with Team Canada East during the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Dawson Creek, B.C., from Dec. 7-15.
Joining Beer on the staff of Dagenais, who coaches the Ottawa entry in the CCHL, will be Greg Leland (Campbellton, MHL) and Don Sauvé (Rockland, CCHL).
A list of players invited to try out for the squad will be announced at a later date.
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Entries for the fourth-annual Timmins Rock NHL Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Spruce Needles Golf Course on Thursday, Aug. 15, are quickly filling up.
This year’s four-person scramble will feature former NHL players Darcy Tucker, Shayne Corson and Georges Laraque.
Cost of entry is $125 per golfer, which includes 18 holes of golf, a chance to meet the former NHL stars, dinner and a silent auction.
Accommodation will also be made for those not interested in golfing at a lower rate.
Anyone interested in signing up should contact Rock president Ted Gooch by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ROCK ROSTER STATUS
Signed: Tyler Masternak and Vance Meyer;
Eligible to return: Jean-Marc Brisson.
Signed: Josh Anderson, Phil Caron, Eric Moreau, Owen Shier, Gregory Arnbourg Alec Brown, Tarcisius Tibishkogijig, Aidan Milene;
Eligible to return: Carson Burlington.
Traded: Will Caston, Luka Bolduc.
Signed: Derek Seguin, Keegan McMullen, Gage Tremblay, Riley Robitaille, Riley Brousseau, Linden Spencer, Josh Dickson, Stewart Parnell, Tyler Gilberds, Cameron Kosurko, Rhys Chiddenton, Zach Smith, Ryan Twigg, Kain Harrietha, Tyler Schwindt.
Eligible to return: Darcy Haupt;
Traded: Mahingan Decontie, A.J. Campbell.