Door to the Chatham Maroons locker room at Memorial Arena. (BlackburnNews.com file photo)

Maroons start GOJHL season at home vs. Rockets

The Chatham Maroons will open their bid for a Sutherland Cup title Sunday night.

The Maroons’ first game of the 2018-2019 regular season is at home as they host the Strathroy Rockets.

First-year Maroons head coach Kyle Makaric says goal of the team’s management over the off-season was to build a team that had a good mix of veterans and younger players who they’ll be able to build around for years to come and he’s satisfied they’ve fulfilled that going into the season opener.

“I’m thrilled with the mix we have,” says Makaric. “We have a great mix of the young guys and the older guys have no problem taking them under their wing.”

One of the team’s biggest strengths, according to Makaric, will be their speed, while one of the challenges early on will be figuring out the chemistry for their lines.

“We have a general idea, but none of that stuff can be too concrete right now,” says Makaric. “We have pairs that know each other… there’s familiarity up front, and we’ll be piecing together the rest of it to complement those duos.”

Two of those pairs are brand new to Chatham. One is made up of brothers Brett and Kyle Fisher who were recently acquired by the team from the Komoka Kings — the other, is Josh DiCarlo and Evan Wells who played together with the Windsor Jr. Spitfires Midget AAA team last season.

Makaric says there is also a good familiarity between former Caledonia Corvairs Nolan Gardiner, Sean O’Brien, and Eddie Schulz.

As for returning veterans, Makaric says he’s expecting big things this season from forward Dane Johnstone, who will be the team’s captain and from assistant captains Dakota Bohn and Jake O’Donnell who will be manning the blueline for Chatham again this season.

Before Sunday’s game, there will be a Chatham Maroons “Fanfest” event taking place from 4pm to 7pm with a chance to meet the players and staff of this year’s team.

You can also tune in to hear the game on Country 92.9FM/630AM CFCO with puck drop set for 7pm Sunday.