After a few years of looking up from the bottom of the standings, the Nepean Raiders have rebuilt and are poised for a turn around season in the Central Canada Junior Hockey League.
Jerrett DeFazio, fresh off a U18 AAA championship, has been hired as Head Coach and Assistant GM of Player Development for the 2022-23 season.
“DeFazio and his staff will bring a winning culture for the character young men who will earn the privilege of wearing a Raiders jersey this year,” said Raiders VP and General Manager Randy Watt. “Jerrett has the right mindset I was looking for. He has a proven track record and his vision and values match up with our organization. “
Watt added that after a rebuild season, the future starts now. There are seven returning players, including team captain Coleman Bennett. The Raiders have also signed have signed five 17-year-olds from their U18 AAA championship team from last year. The Raiders have also brought in goalie Gage Stewart from Thunder Bay.
“These players are ready to step into a Jr. A lineup and contribute right away,” said Watt. “In net, Gage Stewart will hold the top spot and help this young team find success early. Our main camp was the most talent rich weekend we have had in years. There are many tough decisions in the days ahead.”
When asked about players to watch, Watt said the entire team is who to watch.
“We have a We before Me mindset,” he said. “With that, we are expecting a big year from our three senior defenseman and our returning forwards to add early success, paving the way and setting examples for our new players.”
The Raiders’ first home game is Wednesday September 21st vs Kemptville, with a 7:30 p.m. start time at the Nepean Sportsplex Steve Yzerman Arena.
“This team will be special from the coaching staff, support staff to the players,” Watt said. “We promise we will be entertaining and expect the view of the leaderboard to be very different this season. A special thank you to new and renewed host families. Pauline Brown, Debbie Watt, the Trudell family, the DeFazio family. Without them opening their homes and providing that home away from home experience, we don’t get to find success on the rink. So thank you again to our host families.”
The Raiders’ regular season schedule can be found at www.thecchl.ca/stats/schedule. There is also a CCHL app that can be downloaded for fans to follow the Raiders or any other team.