Ryan Harvey (left) and Riley Pope are impressed with this year’s Spirit players. (Photos by OJHL Images)
The Stouffville Spirit received an early-season boost in the past week with the return of two key players from last year’s team.
Riley Pope was at training camp with the Sudbury Wolves, the Spirit’s affiliate team in the Ontario Hockey League. Pope and Spirit defenceman Nathan Twohey were picked up by Sudbury during last spring’s OHL playoffs.
Stouffville’s own Ryan Harvey was at camp with a junior team in Odessa, Texas. The 18-year-old was one of six players named to the 24-team OJHL’s First Prospect Team for 2022-23.
Pope sent Saturday’s home game with Trenton into overtime with his third-period goal.
He’s happy to be back in Stouffville while knowing he’ll likely get called back to Sudbury this season.
“I like it,” Pope said following practice Wednesday. “The guys are all good and everyone is working hard. We had a good game against Trenton. We didn’t win but everyone fought hard. I see a good future for this team.”
Harvey, too, is talking team first.
“I’m excited for this year,” he said. “The boys looked good against Trenton and I’m just happy to add to that.”
“Team goals are first and foremost. We have a good enough crew that I want to see us have a good run in the playoffs. Myself, I’m hoping for a (NCAA) commitment. But I’m really just focusing on the team. We have a really good group of guys
“It’s a really good room; I can feel it already. And having TJ (Hill, the head coach) and coaching staff all year is really going to help.”
Hill and assistant coaches Rob Ascenzi and Tyler Turcotte were installed midway through last season.
The Spirit has earned points in all three games it has played to date, winning its first two games and losing the third in overtime.
Haliburton County Huskies at Stouffville, Thursday, Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m
Spirit vs Buffalo Sabres, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 5:30 p.m.*
Spirit vs Caledon Admirals, Thursday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.*
*OJHL Governors’ Showcase in Buffalo, NY.
Linemates Peter Kioussis and Odaro Ewere lead the team in scoring with five points apiece.
Spirit players staffed the water stations at the Terry Fox Run Sunday. More than 1,000 people took part, raising more than $70,000 for cancer research. Proceeds from Spirit 50/50 draws throughout August and September will go to the Terry Fox Foundation.