By Ken Pagan
Hamilton Kilty B’s head coach John Barrett can’t wait to take the ice to get things started with the 2019-20 roster beginning to take shape.
The GOJHL club’s staff has been busy during recruiting season this spring, with a dozen player signings announced this week and more expected before main training camp opens in August. This will be Barrett’s first season as the bench boss after serving as an assistant coach with the junior club the past few seasons.
“I’m excited to have these guys signed,” Barrett said. “With these players, we are building a strong foundation for another season of competitive hockey in Hamilton.”
The Kilty B’s, who relocated to Hamilton’s Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena for 2018-19 after five seasons in Ancaster, finished 35-12-1, the third-best record in the 25-team GOJHL, before falling to the St. Catharines Falcons in the second round.
A new wave of recruits is joining the growing buzz for the 2019-20 season. The new signees include:
Matteo Drobac, a 2019 sixth-round pick of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. The six-foot netminder from Oakville had a 2.04 GAA with the minor midget ‘AAA’ Halton Hurricanes last season.
Matt Homer, a six-footer from Burlington, who had 11 points in 32 games with the midget ‘AAA’ Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs and also earned callups with both the OJHL’s Burlington Cougars and Kilty B’s last season.
Ryan Thompson, a 6’2″ rearguard from Toronto who spent 2018-19 with the midget ‘AAA’ Marlies of the GTHL and was a 1st-round selection by the OHL’s North Bay Battalion in this spring’s U18 draft.
Jordan Van Hunnik, a 6’2″ 16-year-old from Toronto who had six points in 30 games with the midget ‘AAA’ Halton Hurricanes last season.
Chris Black, a 5’10” 185-pound blueliner who had 17 points in 28 games with the midget ‘AAA’ Brantford 99ers last season, in addition to a league-leading 148 PIMs.
Adam Clark, who brings some National Championship experience to the dressing room after the 17-year-old from Oakville helped the Toronto Nationals win the Telus Cup.
Tanner Bibby, a 2002-born winger from Brantford who had 12 goals and 27 points in 32 games for the midget ‘AAA’ Burlington Eagles. He also scored his first GOJHL goal as an affiliate with the Kilty B’s.
Nolan Underwood, a 17-year-old from Paris who was drafted by the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack in 2018, had 13 goals and 22 points in 32 games with the midget ‘AAA’ Burlington Eagles last season.
Jacob McEachern, a 17-year-old from Burlington who had 31 points in 32 games with the midget ‘AAA’ Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs before leading the team in playoff scoring.
Terry Bridgland, from Stoney Creek, who put up 21 points and 104 PIMs in 29 games with the midget ‘AAA’ Brantford 99ers last season. The 17-year-old was drafted by the Ottawa 67’s in this year’s U18 draft.
Jacob MacDonald, 18, who spent last season with the Blyth Academy Cougars U18 club, putting up 19 goals and 39 points in 25 games.
Christian Pelley, a 17-year-old winger from Oakville who had 27 points in 29 games with his hometown midget ‘AAA’ Rangers and raised his game to another level in the playoffs.
More signings are expected in coming days and weeks. Many of the new recruits are on the ice throughout the summer for a conditioning camp featuring guest coach Zac Rinaldo of the NHL’s Nashville Predators.