WINCHESTER – With new head coach Nik Paas in charge and assessing new talent, the North Dundas Rockets have launched their 2017-2018 National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) season.

Chesterville’s Jason Buma carried the goaltending load for the North Dundas Rockets as they played their way into the 2016-2017 National Capital Junior Hockey League championship series, eventually won 4-1 by the Embrun Panthers. Rockets GM Robyn Sadler has reported Buma will, once again, play the majority of the Rockets’ games. Winchester’s Curtis Barkley (No. 28 – right) is vying for a spot on the Rockets’ blue line. Press Photo – Van Bridger

The Rockets have held two training camp sessions (Mon., Aug. 28 and Tues., Aug. 29) at the Joel Steele Community Centre and will hit the ice again this evening (Wed., Aug. 30, 7-8:30 pm) at that same facility.

The Chesterville-based squad will take on one of the league’s new entries, the South Grenville Rangers, on Winchester ice on Sat., Sept. 9 at 7:15 pm. The next afternoon (Sun., Sept. 10) another recent addition of the NCJHL, the Metcalfe Jets, will be in Winchester for a 2:15 pm matinee.

North Dundas’ exhibition schedule wraps up with a pair of road games, first at the R.J. Kennedy Arena against the expansion Blackburn Inferno on Tues., Sept. 12 followed by a trip to Prescott on Sat., Sept. 19 where they will meet the Rangers.

Ready to rock
General manager Robyn Sadler said he is looking forward to the season and is comfortable with the players that are returning from last season – the Rockets most successful year since the team’s inception in 2010-2011.

Last year the Rockets finished third with their best record (18-14-0) and points total (36). North Dundas then won two post-season series (4-2 vs. Cumberland Bandits and 4-0 vs. Vankleek Hill Cougars) before losing 4-1 in the championship series to the Embrun Panthers.

“My favourite part about last year’s success is that we did it with 16 local players,” said Sadler. “This year it’s a real possibility that that number could get closer to 20, based on the work our organization has done in the past couple of weeks.”

The GM noted the executive has been working hard on recruiting, setting up the training camp and organizing the golf tournament.

Golf tourney
The Rockets’ fundraising golf tournament will be played at Cedar Glen Golf Course on Sat., Sept. 16. Anyone interested in taking part should contact Kevin Byers (613-223-0620) or Kent Young (613-880-4362).

New unies
Thanks to the generosity of both the Winchester and Chesterville Lions Clubs the Rockets will be sporting new uniforms this season.

North Dundas general manager Robyn Sadler pointed out that the jerseys were purchased from former Winchester resident and Barrhaven sports store owner Rob “Razor” Raistrick whose late father Elzeon Raistrick was a long serving member of the Winchester Lions.

Sadler also noted the club is always looking for sponsors and is offering a new sponsorship package, which will be presented to Township of North Dundas businesses in the next couple of weeks.