By Mac Christie, Times-Advocate Staff
EXETER – The Exeter Hawks are gearing up for training camp but still have roster spots to fill.
GM Doug Timmermans said the Hawks have new talent coming in but said it’s not at the point yet where a player from last year will be bumped from the team.
“All the local players that are available that played last year, we hope they’re there again,” Timmermans said. “I think right now we’re probably looking at six spots available out of the 23-man roster.”
The team has lost several players from last season, including starting goaltender Aaron Bedard as an over-age player, as well as forwards Luke Jackson of London, who signed with the Jr. ‘B’ Strathroy Rockets and Exeter native Mitch Vandergunst, who signed with the Jr. ‘B’ Statford Cullitons.
“Those guys would obviously help the team out, but it’s not as big a hole as losing your goalie,” Timmermans said of the two players moving on to Jr. ‘B’. “We’d love to have them in the lineup but they’re going on to play some good hockey.”
While he noted the team has some good goaltenders coming to camp in St. Marys Aug. 20, things could change when Jr. ‘B’ camps start to send players home after a week.
“Once that starts to shake out I’ll have little bit better idea of what’s available to me,” he explained.
But the Hawks have added talent up front, with the signing of 6′ 2″ forward Cam Jude.
The Waterdown, Ont. product played last season with the Hamilton Red Wings in Tier-Two Junior ‘A’, recording 40 points in 41 games.
Timmermans noted the 20 year old is a power forward and was a 14th round pick of the OHL’s Guelph Storm in 2008. He added Jude knows Hawks defenseman Mitch Wild, who is also from Waterdown.
“That’s a big pickup for us,” he said of Jude. “He’s going to school in London at Fanshawe, so it’s a good fit for him.”
While he said he’d like to add two or three more players like Jude in the six available spots, he noted the team is confident in the roster.
“I’m not worried about anybody else, I’m worried about ourselves,” he said of the league. “There’s nobody out there this year that’s got a squad put together I’m worried about.
“All my concerns are if the guys involved here play to their potential.”
As it stands, Timmermans expects the Hawks to be a top offensive team in the league.
“We’ve probably got two lines that would be a first line anywhere else in the league and I’m quite confident that by the time we’re done we’ll have three lines that fit that mould,” he said.
Camp opens Aug. 20 and Timmermans expects to have the roster set by Sept. 9.
The team will host Mount Brydges in an exhibition game Sept. 7 before hosting their home-opener Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. versus Lambeth.