The Chatham Maroons after being eliminated by the Komoka Kings in the first round of the 2018-2019 GOJHL playoffs. March 7, 2019. (Photo by Matt Weverink)

Chatham Maroons lace up for the regular season

The Chatham Maroons may not be in a nearby arena this weekend but they are finally hitting the ice to start the regular-season.

Junior B hockey teams in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) are starting the 2019-2020 season at the annual showcase. The Chatham Maroons will play the Niagara Falls Canucks on Saturday afternoon in Pelham. The following morning, the Maroons will play the Listowel Cyclones.

Games played at the GOJHL Showcase will count in the regular-season standings.

“Our guys are super excited,” said Maroon Head Coach Kyle Makaric. “We can’t wait to get going.”

The Maroons will play a little closer to home on September 12 when they face the Legionnaires in Sarnia.

Makaric said they have a lot of new players that have absorbed a lot of the information and skills thrown at them during training camp.

“These guys are going to be prepared and ready to go. Our veterans have been great at helping them and teaching them and being a good guiding influence every step of the way,” said Makaric. “I like the mix that we have and I think that we’re looking to get the ball rolling right away in the first game.”

With plenty of new players on the ice, there are also a few new faces behind the scenes that are helping players get ready for the season. Kevin Closs and Calyn Kir have joined Andrew Donaldson as assistant coaches.

“[Closs] is going to help the defence at practice and from being a defenceman he’s a hard-nosed type of guy and he’s going to help the players develop their game from the defensive aspect,” said Makaric. “[Kir] is going to be keeping a lot of different stats for us. He’s a super-smart guy, he’s very understanding of the game and what we want to do here.”

Makaric also mentioned that Donaldson’s twin brother, Corey, has joined the team as a trainer.

“He’s got an athletic background as well and he’s going to help the guys in terms of their warm-ups and their preparation,” he said. “We’re really excited to have him as well.”

Thursday night’s game in Sarnia will be broadcast on Country 92.9 FM / 630 AM. Puck drop is set for 7:10 p.m.

The Maroon will play their home-opener against the London Nationals on September 15 at 7 p.m. at Memorial Arena in Chatham.