By Dan Rankin
Over 40 aspiring minor hockey players ranging in age from six to 14 came out evenings this week to attend the Lincolns minor hockey development camp, led by staff, players and the head coach of our local Junior B squad. The lead instructor was Lincs bench boss and former NHLer Merlin Malinowski, who retired as a professional hockey player in 1991.
For some of the 14-year-olds taking part this week, that was 10 years before they were even born. That’s why, even though Malinowski has a lot of experience working with minor hockey aged-kids, he feels it is important for some of the current Lincolns players to come out on the ice for the camps.
“The kids absolutely look up to them,” he said. “It’s a great thing that they’re here.
Out on the ice this past Tuesday evening were 2014-2015 Lincolns leading scorer Brent House (23 points in 45 GOJHL games last season), forwards Jared Lindsay and Graham Brulotte and blue-liners Nick Whitworth and Jordan Winter. St. Marys native Garrett Nelson, currently a D-man with the minor midget Huron-Perth Lakers, and Thorndale’s Brennan Stapleton, a member of the 2014-2015 Minor Midget AA White London Jr. Knights, also helped out during the power skating and skills development drills Tuesday, as did Lincolns director of scouting Jason Ross.
The 2015-2016 Jr. B Lincolns’ main training camp is set for this Sunday, Aug. 23, from 5:45 pm to 8:45 pm.
Their exhibition schedule gets underway Saturday, Aug. 29 at 6:45 pm with a game against the London Nationals. The following night, also at 6:45 pm, they welcome the Mid-Western division’s Stratford Cullitons.
St. Marys, who missed the playoffs last season, will play its home opener Sept. 18 versus La Salle. As with the rest of the league, their first two games will take place at the Western Fair in London on the weekend of Sept. 11-13 for the GOJHL Showcase tournament. In those games, the Lincolns face Brantford on Friday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 pm, and then Welland on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 pm.