Petrolia Squires (submitted photo)

Squires Open Senior Hockey Season

The Petrolia Squires hit the ice against Tillsonburg at the Greenwood Recreation Centre Friday night to kick off the new campaign.

The Squires are looking to build off a strong year as the team reached the WOAA finals last season, losing to the Clinton Radars in six games.

Entering his 16th season with the team, Defenceman Jeremiah Goodacre says the style of play has certainly changed since he first put on a Squires jersey.

“When I started in the league the talent and the speed wasn’t near what it is today,” says Goodacre. “As far as the rough stuff goes it’s quite a bit different as well, there use to be four or five fights a game now we’d be lucky if we had that many fights in a season.”

Guys on the team range anywhere from 20 to 40 years old, which Goodacre says makes for a good mix of conversations.

“It’s funny, you have some of the older guys on the back of the bus talking about taking their kids to minor hockey, and then there are the young guys who are talking about the cute girls they saw at school that day, it’s quite the dynamic,” says Goodacre.

The Squires will be without their leading scorer from last season, as Kraig Wright is now with the Tillsonburg Thunder. Goodacre says they have about eight guys who aren’t returning from last year’s team, but says they have plenty of young talent ready to step into a more prime time role.

He says coming into the league can be an adjustment for a 20-year-old right out of junior.

“Puck battles are a lot different, old man strength is quite evident when you first come into the league,” says Goodacre. “I remember when I was a 20-year-old and being quite intimidated by the older guys, they’re bigger, stronger and in some cases look meaner, but they still put their skates on the same way as you.”

Petrolia will once again have a pretty deep roster this year, Goodacre says it helps having a lot of players because guys have other committments.

“I always tell the guys family should come first, job second, and hockey third,” says Goodacre.

Goodacre expects Clinton to be very strong again this year as they’ve added several former pro’s to their already strong roster. He says Tillsonburg and Saugeen Shores will likely be in the mix as well, along with the Squires.

Craig Prudam is back behind the Squires’ bench, he coached Petrolia previously and has also been behind the bench for the Sarnia Bee’s and Mooretown Flags.