HIRING: INTERN, HOCKEY OPERATIONS
Date: Oct 17, 2019
Ontario Junior Hockey League resident reporter Ron Valentine is profiling the team captains of The OJ this fall.
BY RON VALENTINE
Have ‘C’ will travel. That's the story for MAX RACICOT (Photo by Shawn Muir / OJHL Images) who played last season for the GOJHL's Junior B 99ers and now suits up as Captain for the OJHL’s Milton Icehawks.
Max captained the GOJHL club last season when he was only 17 and he plans on building upon that experience with leadership on and off the ice for the new club. Showing respect and being a gentleman off the ice is very important to him. He describes himself as a 'gritty' player who gives 100 per cent on each shift.
Veteran blueliner Jonathan Pace who played last season for the Trenton Golden Hawks and a teammate of Max's two years ago in Brantford will wear an "A" this year. Jon brings experience and leadership to the club, he says.
What Max has noticed in preseason is the speed of the clubs at the Junior A level but from what he sees so far his team will be able to skate with the best of them.
The club is coached by Dan Fitzgerald. It's his fourth junior club. He started in Dundas, coaching the Blues, and then had two GOJHL gigs – in Cambridge, with the Winter Hawks, and last season the St. Catharines Falcons. Max says, the players quickly gained respect for the new bench boss and they have learned a lot from him as he preaches a game based on quickness.
It's all going to be new for a lot of the players, he points out, but several, notably Bryan Zurowski (Buffalo), Deaglan Small (Burlington), Trevor LeDonne (Oakville) and Liam Beaudoin (St. Michael's Buzzers) come in with experience at this level.
In goal, Cam Gratton, 19, formerly of the GOJHL's Brantford 99ers will be challenged by a 15-year-old Tristan Lennox, a recent pickup from the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL.
Jacob Gnidziejko who started the season in goal for Milton, after playing for host Dryden in the Dudley-Hewitt Cup last spring, returned to the SIJHL, this time to play for the Fort Frances Lakers.
Max is attending Conestoga College taking some interesting courses as he prepares for life after hockey. It will be a learning process for him this season but one to which he is really looking forward.
Follow Ron Valentine on Twitter @ronandlynda