Change Is Good For The Chatham Maroons
Chatham has won nine of their last ten games, and are hoping to continue the push toward the playoffs. According to head coach Tyler Roeszler, who started the season as an associate coach with the team, his transition to top boss on the bench has been easy.
“I had a lot of familiarity with the team already having been an associate coach for the last year and a half,” said Roeszler. “To take it over it helped I was familiar with the guys. We have a great group of kids and we’ve been really rolling. We want to get to the top two spots heading into the playoffs.”
Another major change for the Maroons was the departure of captain Michael Verboom, who left the team only a month before playoffs to start his NCAA career with the Mercyhurst Lakers early. Luckily, the Maroons, a veteran squad, had another worthy candidate waiting to take over the role in defenseman Steven Szekesy.
“Steve is a two year assistant captain for us, with him he’s a real leader on the back end and on our team, and I think we’ve seen since he’s gotten the ‘C’ he’s really evolved his game,” says Roeszler of Szekesy.
“He knows now that as a captain you can’t take nights off, you have to play hard every night, especially if he’s the leader. He’s the one setting the example for how hard we’re going to work. Also in the dressing room, when you hold guys accountable, you have to be doing the things that you’re talking about yourself. I think he’s really embodied that and been a great leader and great captain.”
Verboom was not only the team’s captain, he has been one of the GOJHL’s top scorers over the last two seasons. His goal scoring again, had to be replaced. To do so, the team brought in a pair of veteran forwards: Tillsonburg’s Gus Ford, and St. Thomas’ Luc Knight.
“He’s a special offensive player,” boasted Roeslzer of Ford, who has 58 points in only 39 games, in what’s only Ford’s first full Junior B season. “He runs our powerplay, he’s a great kid and great teammate, and brings us a different element in terms of offense, he’s been great.”
As for Luc Knight, Roeszler says he was a player the team was aware of, having played on a line with current Maroons forward Alex Morgan last season with the St. Thomas Stars, before playing Junior A in the Maritimes for the first half of this season.
“To bring him in we thought, ‘that really gives us three solid lines that can score’,” said Roeszler. “Both those guys have been great team guys, great additions to the team, and chemistry wise they fit right in.”
Now, with the changes made, and working out for the Maroons, their focus turns to winning a championship, something Roeszler did multiple times as a player in Chatham, and something he hopes he can help bring back to the proud hockey town.
“I was lucky enough to win two championships as a player, and I’m trying to do the same as a coach. I know how much this team means to the community.”