At Halfway Point Stars’ GM Joe Daniels Talks About Team Performance – by C. Scott Holland
St. Thomas Stars’ GM Joe Daniels possesses an acute sense of hockey and recently gave some insight as to the Stars’ performance during the first half of 2015/16.
While elated that the Stars are sitting in second place, Daniels said, “I’m surprised at where we (the Stars) are, the West (Conference) and the GOJHL, in general, is highly competitive.”
Regarding how he views the 2015/16 edition of St. Thomas’ Jr. B team, he added, “We are still young but we play more like an older team …Heading into the season we were a little worried about the scoring, but we’ve been getting that.” And the Stars have become the West’s highest scoring with 117 in 26 games played.
But that aspect of the game doesn’t concern the GM. “We need to work on our own end and getting guys to come back and help our goalies out.”
As for how the season’s second half will play out, Daniels repeated what he has said all along, “It’s a 50 game exhibition season; there’s plenty of time for our young guys to pull up their socks and learn their lessons. It’s more of a cat and mouse game all year long and our only goal is to be a top four team come playoffs. Every night is different, every night things change.”
While the trade deadline is still one month away, many teams are speculating and trying to engineer roster moves so their teams can be stronger. The Stars are one of those teams and Daniels has made it known that St. Thomas is working on “strengthening our back-end.” From Jr. C to the OHL many teams are going to make moves and Joe admits, “It’s tough, we’ve been talking about getting another D-man and want to bolster our roster to 23.”
The Stars’ defense indeed has been playing short-staffed most of the season and even converted forward Adam Truax to play the position. Daniels stated, “I applaud Adam for that; he’s stepped up and has done an adequate job” in changing roles. While Daniels wouldn’t rule anything out he did indicate that the Stars are working on a move which may land them a coveted defenseman. to play the position. Daniels added, “(Eric) Henderson and (Ryan) Valentini could be up with the Knights (during World Juniors. Good teams send their players and they (the players) go for it.”
Like many other young players they want to move up and move. The two young Stars could also be traded by London and as Daniels said, “You never know what might happen” and is ready to accept what might come.
“We help develop them and if they are traded perhaps London (Knights) will get a player, cash or draft picks. We could always get another player who is sent down by the Knights.” Even if the two are up with the Knights for a month, Daniels and coach Darren Kelly are prepared to fill the holes.
With visions of having a 23 man roster, Daniels realizes some players will have to sit in the stands some games, “It’s tough but if there are injuries or suspensions we have players who are ready to step in. It should hep make the sitting players more competitive. They’ll play harder wanting to remain in the lineup.”
With a great attitude, leadership, and perspective like Daniels’ it’s not any wonder the St. Thomas Stars have become a solid contender this season in the West. But the GM knows there’s plenty of hard work yet to be done before the Stars can claim any laurels. In the meantime, he’s just taking it one step and one game at a time.
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