NOJHL preseason preview: Powassan Voodoos

SUDBURY, Ont. – Despite running away with the regular season title in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League in 2017-18 the Powassan Voodoos campaign ended on a disappointing note for themselves as they were surprised and knocked off by the upstart Timmins Rock in the East Division semifinals.

Now with a new year on the horizon and a new coach to serve behind the bench, the Voodoos will look to continue their overall impressive efforts in the NOJHL.

Max Gavin was brought on board as the new club’s head coach while highly successful general manager Chris Dawson is still in the mix, so Powassan appears to be well established once again.

Add in a solid affiliation agreement with the Ontario Hockey League’s North Bay Battalion there is optimism abound with the club.

With Gavin and Dawson offering their respective thoughts, here’s the latest team preview put together in conjunction with the NOJHL and its members clubs, which today features the Powassan Voodoos.

NOJHL: What are your expectations for the club heading into the 2018-19 season?

MAX GAVIN: Our expectations are to compete for a league championship.

NOJHL: How has your training camp and preseason gone so far?

M.G.: On ice has been great so far. We are working hard and enjoying everyday. Our expectations are to keep the pace from the first week of the regular season right throughout the rest of the year.

NOJHL: Who are a couple of returning players you expect big things from?

CHRIS DAWSON: Cam Moore; Cade Herd; Thomas Yachmenev; Eric Allair and Christian Cicigoi all return after having solid seasons a year ago. Moore led our defensive corps with 41 points while Herd and Yachmenev both registered 50-plus points. As for Allair, he contributed on both ends of the ice on defence and was close to a point-per-game player after rejoining the organization in January. Cicigoi meanwhile is back for his second season in the NOJHL after leading all goaltenders in the league in wins with 23.

NOJHL: Who are some newcomers you’ve signed that you’ve been impressed with early on?

C.D.: David Campbell; Gabby Kioki; Ryan Mills and Jacob Peterson-Galema all make the jump to Jr. A. Campbell, Mills and Peterson-Galema come from the North Bay Trappers AAA program while Kioki is from the Timmins Majors midget AAA squad.

NOJHL: Discuss your team’s working agreement with the OHL’s North Bay Battalion.

C.D.: We have forged a tremendous affiliation relationship with North Bay of the OHL as more than 10 of our players have either been drafted by the Battalion or have earned training camp invites. That relationship has always been a key part of our success as a junior A hockey team.

NOJHL: What style of play do you expect the Voodoos to compete at?

M.G: We expect to play a blue-collar, high-energy style of hockey.

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

M.G.: Our goal is to develop as a team and compete for a league championship.

NOJHL: Any closing comments you’d like to provide to wrap things up.

M.G.: We can’t wait to finally drop the puck and get things going. We’re looking forward to a great year.