Rock’s Beer joins Canada East staff

THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS Timmins Rock coach Corey Beer, shown here giving some in-game instructions to his troops during Game 5 of the NOJHL East Division championship series at the Tim Horton Event Centre in Cochrane, has been named as an assistant coach for the Canada East team that will compete in the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Bonnyville, Alta., from Dec. 9-15.

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Hockey Canada has announced Timmins Rock coach Corey Beer will serve as an assistant on the Canada East staff for the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge, which runs Dec. 9-15 at the R.J. Lalonde Arena in Bonnyville, Alta.

Beer joins the Canada East bench staff headed up by coach Patrice Bosch (Inouk de Granby, LHJAAAQ), who will be making his fifth appearance at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge.

Joining Beer as an assistant coach will be Peter Goulet (Kingston Voyaguers, OJHL), who served in a similar capacity with Canada East back in 2013.

Rounding out the coaching staff will be team video coach Darcy Findlay (Nepean Raiders, CCHL), while Chris Vanstone (OJHL) is Canada East’s director of operations.

Beer, who took over from longtime Rock coach Paul Gagne following the 2016-17 season, will be making his World Junior ‘A’ Challenge debut.

In his first year behind the Timmins bench, Beer guided the Rock to a regular-season record of 19-31-3-3, good for fifth place in the NOJHL’s East Division standings, his defence-first approach inspired his squad to knock off the Hearst Lumberjacks 2-1 in the East Division quarterfinals and the Powassan Voodoos 4-2 in the semifinals.

The Rock’s improbable playoff run came to an end with a 4-1 loss to the eventual NOJHL champion Cochrane Crunch in the East Division final.

“I’m very honoured to represent the Timmins Rock, the NOJHL and my country,” Beer said.

“I can’t wait to work with the Canada East staff.”

NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca is pleased to see one of one of the 12 head coaches from his league be part of such an important event.

“The NOJHL extends its heartiest congratulations to Corey Beer on his being named to the Canada East coaching staff,” he said.

“To have yet another coach from the NOJHL be selected to serve on the staff for such a prestigious international event like the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge, it is not only a tremendous accomplishment, but continues to show the great work our league coaches do on a yearly basis is being recognized on a national level.”

Current Hearst Lumberjacks coach and general manager Marc Lafleur was an assistant coach on the Canada East staff for four years from 2013-16, during his time as the bench boss and GM of the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.

The World Junior ‘A’ Challenge will feature a Canada East roster made up of players from the five eastern-based Junior ‘A’ leagues in the Canadian Junior Hockey League.

They will take on the defending World Junior ‘A’ Challenge champion Canada West side featuring a squad consisting of top members from the five western Jr. A loops in the CJHL, as well as four international squads.

Canada East mined a silver medal in the 2016 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge, their fifth in the history of the 12-year event.

Rosters for the Canada East Identification and Selection Camp will be announced at a later date.

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The Rock have traded 1999-birth-year blue-liner Shawn Sloan (photo below) to the Nepean Raiders, of the CCHL, in exchange for a player development fee.

A native of Cardinal, Ont., Sloan (49, 1-6-7, 28) played one season with the Rock after being acquired from the Perth Blue Wings, CCHL2, prior to the 2017-18 NOJHL campaign.

Sloan (13, 0-2-2, 8), a right-hand shooting, 5-8, 145 pounder, was also part of the Rock’s impressive playoff run.

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Rock president Ted Gooch notes there are only a few openings left for the team’s third-annual NHL Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Hollinger Golf Club on Saturday.

In addition to getting the chance to meet former NHL stars Billy Smith, Kevin Stevens and Shayne Corson, players will also have a chance to win some significant prizes for sinking a hole-in-one during the event.

There will be a chance to win a 2018 KIA Soul, sponsored by KIA of Timmins, on one hole; $20,000 in cash, sponsored by BMT Insurance and Financial Services, on another; and $10,000 in cash, sponsored by OK Tire, on a third.

The four-person scramble tournament will feature a shotgun start at 1 p.m., with a dinner and auction to follow.

Golfers can register at the pro-shop or they can email

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The NOJHL has announced its 2018-19 preseason schedule and the Rock will play a trio of games in preparation for their home opener (Sept. 9 against the visiting French River Rapids).

On Saturday, Aug. 25, the Rock will take on the Crunch at the Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls, starting at 7:30 p.m.

They will also play a home-and-home series against the Lumberjacks — at the Jus Jordan Arena on Thursday, Aug. 30, starting at 7:30 p.m.; and at the Claude Larose Arena in Hearst on Friday, Aug. 31, starting at 7 p.m.