The North Conference of the PJHL has a couple of the same teams at the top but there are some new ones that have jumped up the standings after the pandemic. Mitchell and Stayner are on 11 game-winning streaks after dropping a couple of games to start the season. Here are some highlights from the first 6 weeks of the season.
Alliston has been the dominant team in this division for the last 15 years but it looks like we will have some different teams at the top this season. When we left the arena in Stayner that night Alliston had won game 1 of the final. Stayner has been there knocking on the door the last few years and has won at least one league championship in the last 5 years.
Orillia and Schomberg have joined Stayner in the top 3. Orillia was in 3rd place in the last year of hockey. Orillia GM Andrew McDonald said the Terroirs have gone with a younger and more local team this year. He says it has made for a great dressing room and a solid work ethic every night. The Terroirs has a solid veteran group that leads the new younger players. Carruthers player of the month Josh Brown and Mason Beck lead the way with this young group. The blue line is led by Isaiah Philip who sees the ice as good as any defenseman in the league.
Schomberg GM James Ewart gives credit to some great recruiting by his head coach Stan Kondrotas. This has helped put the team in contention for the top spot. James has been the manager for the past 6 years and before that, his son was a goalie for the Cougars for 5 years so he has a great knowledge of what it takes to get his team to the top. A couple of veterans lead the way for the Cougars. There captain Cameron Kokelj leads the way at both ends of the ice and has 13 goals and 12 assists. Marc Bottero has some great offensive skills and has 12 goals and 14 assists. These two players are at the top of the PJHL scoring. Stan likes his team speed and the solid work effort the team brings to the rink every night. Stan was the coach of the year for the Caledon Golden Hawks a couple of years ago.
Going into this weekend the Stayner Siskins sit in first place with an 11-1 record. Longtime GM Richard Gauthier has stepped back a little and Jeff Sanders has taken over as GM. Jeff says his team is a veteran group that plays a physical game. He feels there will be some great competition at the top before the year is over. Samuel Vashon leads the teams with 16 goals and 8 assists. Colby Guy anchors a strong blue line for the Siskins.
Jeff likes his veteran team that plays a physical game. Jeff also sees the excitement from his team to be back in the rink.
When we left the arena a coulee years ago Mount Forest and Wingham were tied 1-1 and it looked like a great series was going to go 6 or 7 games.
Now we find these two teams in 3rd and 4th place with Hanover and Mitchell moving up the ladder.
Mitchell is in first place with a veteran head coach in Louie Livingston at the helm. Louie has an impressive resume with a lot of championship teams in Listowel minor hockey and Junior hockey. He has led Hanover and Wingham to league championships and has a solid team this year in Mitchell. Louie likes the leadership group with his team.
Josh Keil is a new Manager after a long career in officiating. Josh has done a great job in recruiting this older team.
Tyson Hall leads the scoring with 14 goals and 7 assists. Tyson is a solid two-way forward in his 3rd year in Mitchell. On the blue line Malcolm McLeod leads the way with 4 goals and 6 assists. Their best player might be their goalie Tyler Parr who has an 8-2 record and a goals-against-average of 1.35.
Hanover GM Mike Fisher has put together a strong team with a good mix of younger and veteran players. Head Coach Peter Irwin likes the balance of his team top to bottom. He is excited about the good young players he has. Leading the way is Trent Verbeek with 7 goals and 9 assists. Rookie Alex McGillivary has 4 goals and 6 assists and looks like a solid 16-year-old playing in the league. Hanover is solid in the net with Riley McCabe.
Wingham is in 3rd place and has one of the best players in the PJHL in Kyle Stanbury. Kyle has 13 goals and 12 assists. Head Coach Cory Hamilton is looking forward to renewing old rivalries. He has noticed a lot of new faces in the much younger league. Wingham has had strong teams near the top for a long time.
More stories about all conferences will follow.
Doug Kennedy—North Conference Manager–PJHL