DEER LAKE Ross Coates is looking forward to another season of senior hockey.
The president of the Western Royals is pleased with the roster for the 2012-13 Newfoundland Senior Hockey League season. The Royals held training camp at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex over the weekend and Coates believes the team will provide the fans with something to cheer about after a handful of disappointing seasons operating as the Corner Brook Royals at the Pepsi Centre in Corner Brook.
“We have all our players and our coaching staff in place, so we’re good to go,” Coates said Monday.
Coates was pleased with how the training camp went under head coach Ben Fitzgerald, who will be joined on the bench this season by former Royals and Deer Lake Red Wings coach Ed Kearsey and last year’s assistant coach Phil Oake, who is a Gander native.
“I think it’s going to be a very physical team,” he said. “We are going to play a very aggressive style of hockey. Last year we were aggressive in areas, but passive in other areas. But, this year, I think we have a full team of people who play the game hard.”
Coates has been criticized in the past about his recruitment of import players, but this year the team has acquired the services of four new imports who Coates feel will fit in well with the team and be impact players in the league.
Three of the four imports — Brett Morrison, Mathieu Berube and Nathan Welton — suited up for the two-day camp, but defenceman Nathan Saunders wasn’t able to make camp because of a prior engagement.
Coates said all three imports stood out on the ice and expects them to make a healthy contribution.
“Saunders wasn’t there the weekend, but I’m hoping his credentials speak for themselves,” he said. “He’s played pro and he’s been a pretty good defenceman all his career.”
The Royals clash with the defending champion Clarenville Caribous in the season opener Saturday 7:30 p.m. at the Hodder. The two teams will match wits again Sunday 2 p.m. at the Hodder.
The roster for the Western Royals on opening weekend includes Brad Dyke, Doug Jewer, Nathan Saunders, Nathan Welton, Stephen Simms, Mike Lee, Ashley Coles, Steve North, Cory Blackmore, Brad Rice, Jake Easton, Michael Hynes, Darren Langdon, Mark Robinson, Tim Caines, Andrew Smith, Ryan Penney, Mathieu Berube, Brett Morrison, Brian Barker, Justin Barbour, Scott Doody and Mark Tobin.
Fans from Deer Lake and Pasadena area can pick up holding seats Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hodder. Fans in Corner Brook area with holding seats can pick up their tickets Wednesday 6 to 9 p.m. at Meineke on Maple Valley Road in Corner Brook.