NOJHL team season preview: Blind River Beavers

SUDBURY, Ont. – In three years at the helm under Kyle Brick in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Blind River Beavers have produced results.

With 90 victories to his credit since taking over behind the bench prior to the 2016-17 campaign, his efforts saw his side produce back-to-back franchise-best single-season win marks and also helped send the Beavers to the NOJHL final for the first time in franchise history back in 2017.

That same year he earned league Coach of the Year laurels while adding the club’s general manager duties to his portfolio prior to the commencement of last season.

Now Brick’s focus is on 2019-20 as he looks to lead his charges into another successful year.

With plenty of new faces in the line-up, along with the return of team captain Caleb Serre, Brick aims to keep his squad going in the right direction.

Here’s a look at the Beavers, through insight from Brick, in this latest NOJHL team season preview.

NOJHL: What are your expectations for the club heading into the 2019-20 season?

KYLE BRICK: We just want to continue to build on what we have done here in Blind River. We realize the league gets stronger every year, so we would be happy to be a playoff team.

NOJHL: Give us your thoughts on your club as you near the start of another campaign.

KB: Obviously it’s too early to tell, but I like the players I have recruited. This year’s team will look a lot different than my teams in the past. Stay tuned.

NOJHL: Who are a couple of returning players you look to be play a pivotal role on the club in 2019-20?

KB: We will once again look to our captain Caleb Serre to have a big year. When he goes, we go. He led our team in scoring last season and was seventh overall in the entire league with 61 points, including 25 goals. Justin Mauro is someone I will be looking at to provide offence as well. As a rookie, he had 27 points for us on nine goals and 18 assists.

NOJHL: Who is a newcomer you’ve signed that you expect to perform well in the league?

KB: Devon Savignac is a draft pick of the OHL’s North Bay Battalion and had a really good main camp with them, so we are excited to see what he does as a 16-year-old in the league. I coached him with Team NOHA at the OHL Cup and he has all-world speed. He will be fun to watch. Devon played for the Sudbury Wolves minor midget team last year. He was among the top of his team in statistics by scoring 20 times and helping set-up 12 more.

NOJHL: For the first time in league history, nine teams in the league had 25 or more wins last season. How do you feel that parity has helped your club contend in such a competitive league?

KB: It makes winning so much harder. When you know that any team can win on any day, it definitely helps your preparation and the players’ mind set.

NOJHL: What goals do you have heading into the start of the regular season?

KB: Have a good start, so when the dog days of February hit, you have a bit of a cushion in the standings.

NOJHL: What are one or two highlights in your time with the team?

KB: Advancing to the league final our first year here was definitely a bright spot. We’re just happy with where the team is, compared to its past results. We will continue to build this program here in Blind River.

NOJHL: Any other thoughts or closing comments you’d like to provide.