Like all great teams, you never look back, only forward. The Rock are doing exactly that.  They had one of their most active off-season’s since they made their arrival in Timmins, making trades and acquiring pieces that made the roster stronger and younger.  Rock Head Coach Corey Beer is entering his third season as the bench boss and this year the mindset isn’t different.

The Timmins Rock are looking to get back to where they were last season and that’s the playoffs. Last year they made it to the NOJHL Eastern Conference Finals and were 2 goals away from moving on to their first NOJHL Final. Unfortunately, they fell short to the Hearst Lumberjacks in 7 games after giving up a 3-1 series lead.

” I think this year is more about progression, and building off of what we’ve done. Last year we had a young team, we had a good playoff run, we fell short against the league champs. This year I think we wanted to put a bigger emphasis on speed and skill. We’re just trying to build off of the progress we made last season” – said Beer.

Photo Taken By: Alain Quevillon (ROGERS MEDIA)
Players working on some break out drills

The Rock have two pre-season games on the schedule before they kick off the regular season at the rowdy McIntyre Arena, and Beer will look to make the most out of those two games.

“The guys who never played in Junior, we’re going to give them some reps; we’re going to get them two games under their belt; we’re going to get them comfortable with the atmosphere.  The home game against Pelham is going to be different because the atmosphere of the “Mac” is a completely different animal then most other rinks. Going to KL (Kirkland Lake) is always a tough task, but I think the biggest thing we’re looking for as a group is to make sure that our systems work, and it’s going to be a work in progress all year. With the returning group we have, it should be easier to do because the younger guys can look at how the vets do it and say “okay this is what it takes to play in this league.”

The Coach went on to add that getting back to where they were last year is the goal and that winning a championship is something that every organization wants.  Right now, Beer is only focused on the two pre-season games, getting off to a good start, and performing well in the 56 regular season games before he worries about the playoffs.

Here’s the full interview with the Head Coach:

Derek Seguin is back with the Rock and will be wearing the “C” on his shoulder once again. This year Seguin knows expectations are higher, but feels good heading into the season.

“We’re feeling confident, we know the talent we have in the dressing room. We’re not trying to get ahead of ourselves, but we know what we’re capable of. Every year you come in with the same work ethic … obviously the goal is to win. You can already tell we have a really special group here in our dressing room. Guys are already starting to click, the passes are on the tape, and it’s just a matter of time now for everyone to get used to the system that the coach runs here, and things should look pretty good as the season keeps moving along” – Derek Seguin.

With return players it means there’s chemistry, and if there’s one thing the game of hockey has taught other team’s over the years, it’s that chemistry can win hockey games. The team this year has a good balance of returning and new player’s, and some of the returning player’s actually played together here in Timmins back when the Bantam AAA Eagles were a thing.

“I think chemistry could definitely give us an edge over other teams in the league, but the coach and management have done a really good job of building a strong program. You look at the guys that we’ve brought in and developed in the last three years and how they’ve grown, it’s unreal” – said Seguin.

The word has traveled around that the Timmins Rock were close to reaching the ultimate goal of Junior hockey in the North … an NOJHL title. When a team is good, players tend to want to play in that city. Phil Caron, a Timmins native played in the OHL as an undrafted player. He played with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, who at the time had a really good roster and couldn’t find a place to fit Caron in the lineup consistently.  After moving around to a few different teams, the Rock eventually brought Caron home.

The most recent player they’ve added is Karter Renouf.  Renouf was a dominant player growing up, he played for the AAA Eagles who are now called the North Stars, and he played with some of the guys on the current roster, guys like, Seguin, Caron, Parnell, and Robitaille. When he heard the news that he was traded here, it was a pretty good feeling.

“It was awesome, it’s always an honour to play in your hometown. It’s also pretty cool you get to play in front of your family again, I’m here to win games and the guy’s here have really good chemistry. This is a great organization, and I’m excited to be a part of it” – Karter Renouf.

The goal is no different for the Rock; they’ll look to have another strong season, dominate home ice, and reach an NOJHL final. Their core has a lot of experience, some new faces, speed, skill, and chemistry. Management gave the coaching staff a hungry roster.  The coaching staff is all in on their system and the players are all in on winning. Each team around the league is going to be better than they were last year and they know the word is out that the Timmins Rock are going to do what ever it takes to win.

Here are the Rock’s upcoming 3 games:

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