Waterloo- The Waterloo Siskins ended their season on home ice last Tuesday in a 6-3 loss to the Elmira Sugar Kings. The Siskins fell in the series 3-0 and just couldn’t catch up. Elmira used their height, physicality, and finesse play to wear down the Siskins.
The Siskins nonetheless had a great season in what looked to be a rebuilding year. The team overall finished 31-12-6 for 4th place in the Midwestern conference sitting only 12 points back of the Sugar Kings.
Who’s Gone? A look at the Overagers.
With each end of a Junior hockey season, a set of players often referred to as ‘overagers’ graduate and move on. Some to college, some to the pros. This year, the Siskins have 5 players whose Junior careers ended Sunday.
Christian Mroczkowski– (For more about Christian, Copy/Paste this link https://overtimesportsnation.com/captain-set-to-play-last-career-junior-regular-season-game/)
Christian was the captain, leading scorer, and MVP of this team and league (Finished 1 Point behind GOJHL Scoring Leader). As of this moment Christian will take a bit to figure things out but rest assured you can probably bet he will be somewhere in the States come late August. Christian is a game changer and a true gentleman of the game. The final line on Christian is as followed:
Games Played: 178; Goals: 100; Assists: 142; PIM: 152
Its been an honour playing for wouldn't have wanted to end my junior career with any other team
— ChristianMroczkowski (@Christian_519)
Anthony was acquired last off season in a trade with the Cambridge WinterHawks. Although he was only here for 1 season, Anthony made an instant impact. You can easily point to the statistics and disagree with me but what he brings to a team goes further than what the stats show. Anthony is someone who can play all areas of the ice and do it effectively. He can hit, he reads the play well and in the playoffs he showed he can carry the puck through the neutral zone when needed. What’s next for Anthony? You will have to ask him yourself, but one things for certain he is good enough to move onto the CIS and make a difference. Final line on Anthony is as followed:
Games Played: 236; Goals: 21; Assists: 37; PIM: 344
Well it sure has been quite a ride over the last 4 years lots of memories and good people and life long friends
— Anthony Guido (@anthonyguido20)
Eric has enjoyed a steady 3 year Junior career and made a impact on the blueline in all 3 seasons. Eric is a defenseman with offensive upside and is also kind of a ‘dick’ to play against. If you are anywhere near his goalies crease, expect a few bruises. Eric is CIS ready. An argument could be made he could play in the NCAA too. That decision is up to him. But no matter what, Eric has a bright future ahead of him. The Final line on Eric is as followed:
Games Played: 166; Goals: 23; Assists: 81; PIM: 372
I never really had the chance to meet Matt this year until after game 4 last week in which I suggested to him I could help him find somewhere to play next year. But as far as his play goes, he was missed this round. He is a big bodied defenceman who plays a strong defensive game but has offensive upside. He doesn’t score a lot of goals but he makes a crisp first pass out of his own zone and creates chances from the blue line in the offensive zone. It was a sad end to his career but again Matt is another guy whose career I don’t think is done. He will never play another Junior game again but I will not rule out university hockey. It’s not everyday you find a 6’6 defenseman who can play a complete game at any level. The final line on Matt is as followed:
Games Played: 91; Goals: 3; Assists: 24; PIM: 86
Michael’s career in Waterloo and Jr B in Ontario was short lived appearing in 1 season and 1 season only. Michael has offensive upside and sniper abilities (Did you see that goal in game 4? WOW) I am not sure what Michael’s future holds, but if I could guess he will probably end up playing D3 somewhere closer to home. The final line on Michael is as followed:
Games Played: 42; Goals: 12; Assists: 6; PIM: 36
Possible Non Returnees
In my opinion Chase is gone next season. He may show up to training camp at the end of summer but Chase showed in the playoffs that he is OHL ready. Not to mention he is already dressing again for Sarnia. Chase has now appeared in 14 games with the Sting and has registered his first OHL Point. Chase possesses an OHL shot and has great speed. As much as it would be beneficial for him to return, he probably won’t and the Siskins brass will be fine with it. Over the past few years the Siskins have a great track record of developing players and sending them to the OHL.
2014-2015 Stats (Regular Season Plus Playoffs)
Games Played: 53; Goals: 14; Assists: 30
Kyle’s future is his decision. He can decide between the NCAA or the OHL in my opinion. Kyle is a Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds prospect. The Greyhounds will lose about 12 players this offseason to graduation, 7 of them forwards. If Kyle attends Greyhounds camp, the opportunities will be there. Kyle had a strong season this year and if returned, is one of the top 5 players in the Midwestern conference. Kyle can score, plays a physical game, and is great in the faceoff circle.
2014-2015 Stats (Regular Season Plus Playoffs)
Games Played: 57; Goals: 19 Assists: 33
Evgeny is an interesting case. We received word that Evgeny has been cleared for the OHL draft but that does not make his path any more clear. At first I was a little skeptical due to the fact that in a ’99 born draft year, a 1997 draft pick isn’t attractive. Then I thought about how long most goalies take to develop. Not to make comparisons but Steve Mason didn’t make the London Knights full time until he was 18. Evgeny has developed properly and is a perfect example of a goalie ready to make the next step instantly. Although he has to work on his rebound control, he is a positionally sound goalie. I’d say the chance of him returning to Waterloo is about 30%. Goaltending is a premium in the OHL and a goalie who is 17 with a 2.88 GAA in a starters roll in Jr B is attractive. Expect him to go early. (Expect Sarnia, Windsor, Mississauga, and Hamilton to be interested in him in the early rounds)
2014-2015 Stats (Regular Season Plus Playoffs)
Games Played: 47; Wins: 26; Shutouts: 2
Candidates for Captain
Although it’s really early into the offseason (6 days) we have to keep in mind that the next season starts soon as spring camp is less than 2 months away. Moving on are Christian and Eric. Both of whom were part of the leadership team. The next captain, not to put any added pressure on them will have some big shoes to fill but there are a few guys who can fill them nicely.
Danny Hanlon –
Danny was an assistant captain this year. Quite possibly the early favorite for Midwestern MVP next season. Hard not to consider him a candidate.
Plays with a lot of passion. Plays a very effective game. Wore an A on his jersey this year.
Evan is ready to step up and be a leader and you can tell by the way he plays on the ice. Although the 2 players mentioned above are more likely to don the C, its hard not to at least consider Evan.
Early Surprise Candidates For 2015-2016
After watching a bulk of this year and getting a feel of who is returning next year, I got to thinking who will be the pleasant surprises next year. I have 2 picked.
Luke will be entering his 3rd season with the Siskins and I think he will step into a bigger role next year. My early prediction for Luke is that he will up his season point total to 40-50 points while continuing to play the type of role he plays which is physical.
Matt is a smooth skating blue liner with a ton of offensive upside. Matt didn’t take long to adjust to the GOJHL instantly making a difference. His 23 points will nearly double next year in my opinion.
The Siskins will return a great crop of players next season. Not to mention a great coaching staff. It will be hard to replace some of the players who are departing, I can tell you to have full faith in the coaching staff and management team. Andrew and his coaching staff, Curtis and the Management staff want to win and will do what it takes to provide the fans, the organization and the city of Waterloo a winning team.
A Quick Thanks
I just want to take a minute and thank everyone who has followed the Siskins articles I have written this year. I appreciate all the support and feedback and hope it continues next season.
I also want to thank the Waterloo Siskins Hockey Club. I had emailed Mike one day just as someone who has aspirations of being a sports writer. He got back to me that day and invited me down to the arena. I got to meet the staff, the volunteers (Shout Out Harvey) and the whole Siskins organization. Meeting the coach was a little intimidating. I wasn’t sure what kind of reception I would get from him. Turns out he is one of the nicest people you will meet. Always offered his time. As did the other coaches, Rob and Mike.
I also want to thank all the players. Even after tough games they were straight up and gave me the time. I’ve never met a better group of guys. My first interview ever was with Christian Mroczkowski. It was so bad. Not on his part, on mine. It was so bad I even swore midway. But he didn’t laugh. He acted like a true professional. Even when the questions made no sense, he provided an answer and gave me something I could work off of. And that’s what you get with the Waterloo Siskins. Pure class. And to be apart of it was a life changing experience for me. So to the players who are reading this, I imagine most of you are wondering why this article is so long, I just want to say thank you.
I plan to return to covering Siskins hockey in September. I have some big plans that will hopefully go along way to selling Jr B Hockey. Stay tuned though.
– I will be providing a monthly Siskins Article hopefully this offseason. They may not be long but some players have offered time for interviews over the course of the summer.
– I will be at Spring Camp in May. I will provide coverage all day for that.
– I am working on setting up an exit interview with Head Coach Andrew DeGroot. You can expect that in a few weeks. Sorry too all the people who were looking forward to the first interview with him. I broke my phone and the voice recording did not save to Itunes. I can guarantee this next interview will be up same day!
– Another interview I am trying to set up is with Siskins Associate Coach Mike McIlveen. I spoke to Mike after last weeks game 4 loss and his journey through hockey is a story to be told. Lots of people ask me what it’s like kind of being behind the scenes of Junior hockey, well Hopefully the interview with Mike will bring some clarity.
Hope everyone enjoys the off season and to all the graduating Waterloo Siskins staff and players, this is a beginning, not an ending.
Very Quickly want to say thanks to Tony Dietrich, Mike Stankowitsch, Larry Moreland and Curtis Clairmont for the time they have given me this year. They are behind the scenes most nights but are great guys to talk too and are a huge reason why the Waterloo Siskins are one of the classiest organisations in the GOJHL.