Men’s hockey has eight new recruits for this coming season, all standing at 6’0” and above.
“To beat the teams like McGill, Carleton, you’re going to need size,” head coach Brett Gibson said. “That’s definitely been a focus in this recruiting year.”
Despite a competitive 13-12-1 record in 2014-15, Gibson said his returning players will have to work harder than ever to remain in the lineup.
“Every year you have to bring it at practice [to compete for playing time],” he said. “It doesn’t matter what you did the year before.”
Gibson managed to pull four players from the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), three from the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) and one from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) to make up this year’s recruiting class.
The player Gibson named as one of his biggest recruits was a bit of a surprise. Defenceman Steve Trojanovic is a transfer from St. Mary’s University. Unlike his teammates, he’s coming from another CIS team, rather than straight from the junior ranks.
“He’ll be a huge addition to the roster,” Gibson said, as speaking highly of Trojanovic’s experience in the 2014 OHL playoffs and 2014 Memorial Cup. Trojanovic managed 39 points in 61 games in the 2013-14 season while adding 11 points in 20 games in the playoffs.
Some of the new recruits will be following in the footsteps of old teammates. Current Gaels centre Darcy Greenaway played with forward Slater Doggett with the Kingston Frontenacs for two seasons. Doggett played last season with the Windsor Spitfires, leading the team in goals with 25.
Meanwhile, defenceman Jake Clements looks to join his older brother Taylor after a four year career in the OJHL with the St. Michael’s Buzzers and the Georgetown Raiders. The pair played a season together in 2011-12 with the Buzzers.
Current defenseman Spencer Abraham skated with incoming defenseman Cory Genovese for a pair of seasons. Genovese managed 15 points last season in 60 games.
“You look at Genovese and that’s a guy that’s had experience in the OHL finals this past year,” Gibson said. “He’s one of the tougher guys in the league.”
Many of the incomers have seen their fair share of leadership at the junior level. This includes Alex Stothart and Henry Thompson, both from the OJHL, who were assistant captain with the Kingston Voyageurs and captain of the Whitby Fury, respectively.
Despite having two experienced goaltenders in the program already, Gibson also brought in Jacob Brennan from the Mississauga Steelheads.
“You need goaltending depth to win in this league,” he said. “He’s going to be pushing those two [current goalies] for ice time this season and trying to prove himself.”
The strong history of academic success at Queen’s is also valuable recruiting tool, Gibson said.
“You have one of the best schools [in the province academically],” he said. “Guys want to come here for that reason.”
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