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Port Perry MoJacks prepare for new season with young team, new coaches

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

SCUGOG: Coming off a cancelled 2020/2021 season, the Port Perry MoJacks are returning to the ice with a number of new players, as well as new coaches.

Earlier this month, the team announced they had hired Kyle Adams to serve as their next head coach after the team’s former coach Patrick Jobb moved on to other opportunities.

“The team has been here for a long while, and I’ve heard many good things about the organization. It’s kind of a historic organization. I was in Toronto and got the call to see if I was available, and I’m pretty excited to be a MoJack,” Mr.Adams told The Standard.

Chris Groff will be joining him as a new assistant coach.

“I’ve coached in the area locally and have been going to the games since I was young. The opportunity came up. I met the general manager a few years ago,” Mr. Groff said. “A lot of the kids who are playing for me this year I’ve actually coached. It’s nice to see the kids growing up. [I’m] just getting back into coaching and having fun.”

Former MoJacks general manager Murray Parliament, who now serves as the team’s Director of Hockey Operations, commented on what training camp has been like so far.

“Camp has been very competitive. The guys are very young, very energetic and very enthusiastic about playing on the hockey team. We’re kind of excited about that. We’ll be a young team in our league, but I think most of the other clubs are [in] the same [situation].”

The team is expecting to only have up to four returning players this season from the last time they took to the ice.

“I think it’s exciting. Having a young team, it’s always exciting to watch these players grow and mature, not only as hockey players but as people as well,” Mr. Adams explained.

However, he was cautious when talking about his expectations for this season’s team.

“I think we’re going to compete, that’s for sure. I think it’s a waiting game for everybody. With that year off, nobody really knows what each other has.”

General Manager Tom Parish said it’s been difficult for teams to identify and find talented young players, given the previous hockey stoppage.

“There’s always a challenge when you’re not able to scout players. I’m sure teams at all levels feel that. But we were fortunate to have some good contacts before the COVID-19 shortened season, and we kind of followed up with that,” he said.

Earlier this year, the Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) adopted a mandatory vaccination policy for all players, coaches, trainers, team and league staff, officials, volunteers and billet families. Mr. Parish has only had to turn away one player who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and he added there are a couple of players who have been slow to get the vaccine who “may miss the first week of the season.”

However, the majority of players at training camp are already vaccinated.

The MoJacks open their 2021/2022 schedule in Georgina against the Ice on Friday, October 1st, at 7:30 p.m. Their first home game of the season at Scugog Arena will be on Sunday, October 3rd, at 2:25 p.m. against the North Kawartha Knights.

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