2015/16 Minor Midget Record: 9-22-2 (11th Place)
2015/16 Minor Midget Final Result: Did not qualify for playdowns
2015/16 Major Bantam Record: 6-20-4 (9th Place)
2015/16 Major Bantam Final Result: Lost in 3 to Waterloo in Quarter-Finals
Following a couple of difficult seasons last year, the 99ers are hoping that a new head coach and some big defensive additions will help offset the loss of some key players.
During last year’s Minor Midget run, the 99ers were never able to sustain any kind of momentum for long periods of time. Despite having a top offensive defenceman in Holden Wale, the forwards up front weren’t able to keep up on the speed side of the game and their offensive output suffered because of that. Brantford scored less than two goals a game last year and in the Alliance, that unfortunately won’t win many games.
Bantam was very similar for the Brantford association. A low scoring team that wasn’t able to consistently keep their opponents in check on the offensive end. The 99ers were able to surprise many when they upset Huron-Perth in the preliminary round, but were thoroughly outplayed by Waterloo in the quarter-finals.
The first big move that Brantford made was bringing in former Cherry Cup winning coach Pete Crosby in to lead the team. Nathan Herrington will still be involved with the team, which gives the 99ers two exceptional coaching minds to learn from. On the player end, Brantford did take a significant hit. Both Ben Hipkin and Riley Pinkney, two all-stars last season, are gone and playing with the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs of the OMHA. Also absent is forward Caleb Petrie, who shined in the three games against Waterloo last playdowns.
While gone are a few key pieces, some new faces will help solidify the squad. Kyle Curtin makes his way over from Cambridge to join Ben Williamson in a nice goaltending tandem. Also coming over for Cambridge is Lucas Fanjoy, who replaces Pinkney on the blue line. In addition to the newcomers, Brantford will be led by early season candidate for my personal favourite player Jacob Bloomfield. His combination of speed, skill and physical play makes him a difficult player to miss this season.
Based on their season results last year and the loss of some key players, it’d be easy for people to assume the worst for the upcoming season. But with great minds behind the bench, this is a team that definitely could surprise many throughout the year.
Brantford 99ers 2016/17 Roster: