Chatham Maroons: Running Down The Roster

Steven Szekesy Chatham Maroons

Steven Szekesy will be counted on as a veteran to provide offense from the Chatham Maroons blueline this season – Photo by Helen Heath/ Chatham Maroons

The Chatham Maroons are ready to open up the 2014-2015 GOJHL season, and avenge a finals loss to the Leamington Flyers from a year ago, starting with a road game September 12, and their home opener, September 14.

Here is a look, and a “get to know,” your Chatham Maroons roster.

The Forwards

Welcoming back Alex Morgan, who captained the St. Thomas Stars last season after a year in the OHL, and Brennan Feasey, who lit up the league with the St. Catherines Falcons, opponents won’t have the easy time they expected facing Chatham’s top line now that Brothers and Arseneault have graduated. Captain Michael Verboom is back, and expected to provide big offensive numbers as the third stud on Chatham’s top line alongside Feasey and Morgan.

Tack on the acquisition of Steven Beenackers, Lambton Shores’ leading scorer from last season, beside returning veterans Trevor Richardson, Brayden Hopkins, and Jared Dennis; the Maroons have a dangerous second line as well. The veteran lineup continues with returning forwards such as Ian Faubert, Connor Doran, Michael Levesque, and Mark Fratarcangeli.

They also added heavy hitting rookie Hunter Burk, who played for Hill Academy last year, and is a Chatham-Kent Cyclones alumni. He’s a big body who will adapt well to Junior B, and play a solid depth role for the Maroons. A wild card will be Carl Stapleton, a Swedish forward who has spent the past three seasons in Swedish junior leagues.

Rookies from last season, Hayden Verbeek and James McEwan have graduated to the OHL. Overall, the Maroons are very, very deep up front.

Key Additions: Alex Morgan, Brennan Feasey, Steven Beenackers, Hunter Burk, Carl Stapleton
Key Departures: Kyle Brothers, Adam Arseneault, Charlie Izaguirre, James McEwan, Hayden Verbeek.

The Defense

Just as they are up front, Chatham is deep on the blueline. Steven Szekesy and Nate Pietens will provide offense from the back end returning as 20-year-olds.

To keep opponents honest, and likely have them waking up in cold sweats crying after visiting Memorial Arena, John Bowen is back to torment opposing forwards. With three seasons of OHL and QMJHL experience to his resume, and a disposition that matches his six-foot-three, 220lbs frame, Bowen will be interesting to watch over a full season in Chatham. He could also be slotted into a forward spot due to Chatham’s depth on defense.

Also returning to Chatham’s backend are Connor Annett and Connor McKinnon. Both will be counted on to play a larger role this year. The Maroons have also added Brett Storr, who played Junior A in the NOJHL last season. Storr is a smooth skater, who is originally from Sarnia, and two seasons ago played for the Wallaceburg Lakers. The final staple on the Maroons’ blueline this year will be Levi Tetrault, a 16-year-old who captained the Chatham-Kent Cyclones Minor Midget ‘AAA’ team last season, and was a 4th round pick of the OHL’s Guelph Storm.

Key Departures: Tanner Ferguson, Blayne Oliver
Key Additions: Brett Storr, Levi Tetrault

The Goalies

From what looked to be a glaring weakness weeks before the season, the Chatham Maroons seem to have come out with a viable tandem in net.

From last season, gone are Jacob Keogh to play OUA hockey for Concordia, and Brendan Johnston to play OHL hockey for the Windsor Spitfires.

In steps Bo Bessette, a six-foot-two netminder with three seasons of experience in the OJHL, considered one of Canada’s top Junior A leagues outside the OHL. Just to make sure you don’t take “outside the OHL” as a knock to Bessette, he has an OHL win to his name in 2012-2013 with the Niagara Ice Dogs.

Jacob Lucier, who was the first goaltender to sign, is Chatham’s other option in net. He split last season between the CCHL’s Junior A Kemptville 73s, and the Junior C Belle River Canadiens. Lucier however, was Belle River’s backup in the playoffs. Thought of as a hot prospect in ‘AAA’ while playing with the Sun County Panthers, Lucier has spent multiple seasons honing his craft at Ridley College. Chatham will likely, as they did last season, ride whoever is hot in goal.

So, where does that leave the Maroons? Strong and among the Western Conference’s top teams, and a tweak or two from a Sutherland run. Can they make those tweaks is the question after losing numerous cards last year due to an illegal use of imports. Expect Chatham to start the season with a slightly smaller roster, leaving room for the midseason additions fans have become accustomed to under bench boss Mark Davis’ reign.

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