GM Joe Daniels – Insight To The Stars – by C. Scott Holland
One of the busiest GOJHL general managers, and deeply involved in various aspects of the West Conference and the entire GOJHL, is St. Thomas Stars Joe Daniels. Recently, the St. Thomas Stars GM/owner (2008/09 to present) gave his insights on the team and how he views the 2015/16 season.
Regarding how the Stars had fared last season, he said, “I thought that if the Stars had gotten a couple of breaks we may have made it to the second round and maybe further.”
This season’s edition of the Stars is as young as the one fielded last year and he admitted, “It’s difficult whenever you lose a good number of players. The switchover is never easy, but I feel our young boys are starting to put it together.”
Regarding how he replaced former coach Ron Horvat, he said, “Ron felt that it was time to move on and our search for a new coach didn’t take us too far since we had assistant coach Darren Kelly already here. I knew Darren and he had been with us. He knew some of the players, so elevating to the head coaching position was a natural fit.” Daniels also noted that Kelly’s assistant coaches Adam Nemeth, Pat Ouellet and Paul Gibson have all worked well together.
The one aspect of the Stars’ roster which is an unknown is how long London OHL Knights players Eric Henderson and Ryan Valentini will be in the lineup. “I’m happy they are here and developing so they can play for the Knights or another OHL team if they are traded.” Yet simultaneously Daniels knows, “You never know how long they’ll be with us.” That fact has already hit the team when the Knights recently called both up for a couple of contests and then returned them.
While he realizes that this team is young, he views his two goaltenders as the Stars’ main strength.
“(Nik) Dampier is a 20 year-old vet and (Dan) Black has played well and kept us in many games.”
However Daniels would like to add to the Stars’ depth, “Our goal production is a surprise and I hope we can be a top four team when it’s all done. But right now I’d really like to find us a seventh defenseman. One that can step in and give a guy a day off, some rest.”
Barring any serious injuries, or suspensions Daniels feels that a top four position is within reach and is happy with the Stars performance so far.
As for the new second, three-on-three overtime, Joe likes the in-roads it gives. He notes how many ties there have been and feels the second OT is much better than the shutout.
No matter what occurs during the remainder of the season for the Stars, he is very thankful for the immense support their fan base has given the young squad whether at the Timken Centre or at the handful of special contests played at the St. Thomas Memorial Arena.
If the everything is in the Stars – and under Daniels’ control as it seems to be – the St. Thomas Junior B team will looking to improve their fortunes and advance as far as they can.
C. Scott Holland is an accomplished author, a former Western Jr. B Hockey League statistician and is recognized as the West Conference’s and GOJHL’s historian. A lifelong resident of Leamington Scott was a journalist for the now defunct Leamington Post for 26 years and currently writes for the Southpoint Sun. Among the books he has authored are: 75 Years: A History of the Leamington and Erie Shores Golf Course; A Century In The Making – History of Heinz Canada 1909-2009; Leamington Flyers 1992/93-2011/12 Platinum Anniversary Special Program; the Western Jr. B Record Book 2003/04 and 2005/05 editions; as well as updates of both the West Conference and GOJHL Record Books. He was been a member of he Leamington Jr. Flyers hockey club for the last 27 years and served many years as a board member, statistician, press box announcer, and scorekeeper among other duties. He has been named the West Conference Volunteer of Year and a Windsor-Essex Sportsperson of Year award. He resides in Leamington with his wife Susan.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org