Tim Ruhnke – Recorder & Times
It didn’t take long for Randy Jones to get down to business.
After being introduced as the new head coach of the Brockville Braves on Friday afternoon, Jones spent the weekend assessing players at the Jr. A club’s main camp held at the North Grenville Municipal Centre in Kemptville. Jones, a former NHL defenceman, coached the Saint John Vito’s major midget AAA team for three years through the 2018-2019 season.
In an interview on Monday afternoon, Jones said that “the depth we have in key areas” is what caught his eye at Braves camp on the weekend.
Although he was impressed by what he saw in the defensive zone, the head coach added that there were also forwards who stood out and showed their skills during the tryouts.
Jones said there is sure to be at least one player who is sure to surprise at camp; there was more than one on the weekend.
“That’s a bonus,” Jones remarked.
The Brockville coach noted that it can be hard for returning players to avoid “summer mode” and a bit of “coasting” so early in the pre-season.
The Jr. A bench boss indicated an important part of his assessment on the offensive side is to evaluate scoring chances.
There are sure to be funks and bad bounces at times during the season, according to Jones; a lack of scoring chances is a problem. It’s not always about trying to put up six or seven goals in a game, the coach asserted.
“The biggest thing for me is creating opportunities,” he said.
“A lot of the time it’s timely goals,” said Jones, who also emphasized limiting those times when the offence runs cold.
The Braves had the second-best goals-allowed total in the 12-team CCHL last season. Brockville placed fifth in goals scored.
The head coach said much of his focus in the next month or so will be on getting to know the players.
“I start doing a lot of my homework,” Jones said. The New Brunswick native also plans on getting settled in Brockville and enjoying the summer with his daughter Anabell before training camp rolls around in mid-August.
The CCHL announced on Monday that the 2019-2020 season will open on Thursday, Sept. 5 when Kanata hosts Pembroke. The September Showcase at the Richcraft Sensplex in Gloucester will take place from Sept. 13-15. The holiday break runs from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1; the regular season ends on March 8.
A complete regular season schedule had not been released as of Monday afternoon. Some of the pre-season games in late August had been posted.
Jones succeeds Jesse Winchester, who left the Braves after two seasons to work for the Ottawa Senators as a development coach.
The Brockville organization also announced on Friday that Jason Hawkins had been hired to coach the Jr. B Tikis. Dave Wilgosh will serve as an assistant coach.
In other junior hockey news, Hockey Canada and the CJHL announced on Friday that Cornwall will host the Team Canada East Selection Camp from Aug. 7-9. A number of players from the CCHL and four other Jr. A leagues will be invited to compete for spots on the eastern squad. This year’s World Jr. A Challenge will be held in Dawson Creek, B.C. in December.
Original Story at Recorder.ca