By Pauline Kerr
Advance Times Editor
Western Jr. C champions, the Wingham Ironmen, are set for another exciting season of hockey.
Last year’s thrilling season built up quite a fan following for the team, and after a long summer, they can see the team in action this weekend in Kincardine.
The Ironmen play two exhibition games on Saturday at the Davidson Centre. At 1:45 p.m., the Ironmen meet Stayner, and at 5 p.m., they’re up against Exeter.
The home opener is Friday, Sept. 12 at the North Huron Wescast Community Complex when the Ironmen host the Mount Forest Patriots at 8 p.m. Home games will start at this new time for the duration of the 2014-15 season.
Bill Brown, who’s taking over as general manager from Rob Harrison, says many of the players who helped the team to victory after victory last season are returning, and there’ll be some new players added to the roster.
Ben Nelson will be in goal once again. The back-up goaltender will not be named until after the weekend’s exhibition games.
Returning for another season are defencemen Brett Brophy who’ll be captain of this year’s Ironmen, plus Greg Scott, Darren Kerr, Carter Stewart and Jordan Skerrit.
Forwards returning for another season are Justin Jacklin, Ryan McNeil, Matt McCracken, Alex Kuntz, Jeremy Ross and Brody Tenpas. Tenpas had surgery on both ankles late last season, and is gearing up to return to the ice as soon as he’s ready.
The Ironmen have signed some promising new players including several who are local.
There are three players from the South Bruce Midgets - Adam Armstrong, Connor Weishar and Jared Weishar.
Josh Stewart comes to the Ironmen from the Wingham Juveniles, and Bailey Poels from the Wingham Midgets.
The lineup also includes Holdyn Lansink, who’s from Clinton, and played last year with the Huron Perth Minor Midgets and was drafted by the OHL Erie Otters.
Travis Bender didn’t play last year but played in 2012-13 with the Mitchell Hawks.
Brown said Liam Gangl from the Wingham Midgets will be playing some games with the Ironmen.
It’s much the same story behind the bench, with some familiar names and newcomers.
Louie Livingston returns as head coach, with Joe Riley as assistant coach. Zack O’Krafka is the new assistant coach.
Bill Brown steps into the general manager position.
The Ironmen also have a new trainer, Fred Burton.