Ju­nior Stars fill coach­ing void

Roberts and Han­ley ex­pected to bring youth be­hind the bench

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BY NICHOLASMERCER

With their sea­son tee­ter­ing on the brink of col­lapse, the CBN Ju­nior Stars turned to two former play­ers to keep them from tak­ing the fall.

An­drew Han­ley and Michael Roberts have picked up clip­boards and will guide the young squad for the 2011-12 St. John’s Ju­nior Hockey League.

“ We love to have peo­ple who come in with a sys­tem,” Stars gen­eral man­ager Brian Hur­ley said of Han­ley and Roberts, who will serve as co­coaches.

Hur­ley said it was their youth­ful en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm to­ward the team that swayed his fi­nal de­ci­sion.

The age of his two first-year coaches was some­thing Hur­ley felt could ben­e­fit the play­ers.

“ They might be able to re­late a bit bet­ter to the play­ers than us older folk,” he stated.

The two lo­cal boys honed their game, com­ing up through the ranks of the Bay Arena mi­nor sys­tem — win­ning at ev­ery level.

When the Stars en­joyed some of their strong­est years in the ju­nior league, Han­ley and Roberts con­trib­uted to that suc­cess.

Han­ley was part of the team that won both the league cham­pi­onship and the Veitch Me­mo­rial Tro­phy in 2006.

It is that win­ning pedi­gree the two young coaches hope to bring to the bench this sea­son.

Bounce back sea­son

Hur­ley ex­pects the group of tal­ent as­sem­bled for this sea­son will be a “pretty good team.”

It is stock­piled with young lo­cal tal­ent as­sem­bled from the lo­cal feeder sys­tems, the lo­cal AAA squad and through the draft.

“ We picked up some pretty good play­ers,” said Hur­ley.

Hav­ing two of the first six picks in the first round is a sure fire way to ac­cu­mu­late good young tal­ent.

Lead­ing with the first pick, the Stars se­lected rear­guard An­drew Smith, and fin­ished the first round by se­lect­ing top-six for­ward Mike Vaters.

It is this col­lec­tion of tal­ent that has Hur­ley be­liev­ing this sea­son will be an im­prove­ment of not only the on-ice prod­uct, but also the Stars’ record as well.

“ We ex­pect to be around the mid­dle of the pack,” he said.

That would be a marked im­prove­ment over their abysmal sea­son last year, stated Hur­ley, when the team fin­ished last in its divi­sion.

The Stars’ sea­son is slated to kick­off Oct. 4.

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