By Joshua Boyd / NCDCHockey.com
There has been just a slight changing of the guard at the Boston Junior Bruins, as they have a new face behind the bench. Former UMass-Lowell goaltender Nevin Hamilton – also a former Junior Bruins player himself in the former Eastern Junior Hockey League – is the new Head Coach.
Former Head Coach Mike Anderson has transferred into the General Manager role, so his stamp is still very much on this team as they team up to push the Junior Bruins back to the top, such as the days when the Junior Bruins took the Dineen Cup in 2019. They’ve regularly contended for the prize even since then – semifinalists in 2021 and finalists in 2022 – so they’ve always been right there among the favorites. In Marlborough, Mass., though, t’s time to be the favorite.
“We’re excited about this year’s team. There’s some great veteran leadership with a lot of fresh new talent, so that we’re excited to see this group come together,” said Hamilton, who coached the Junior Bruins USPHL Premier and Elite teams between 2020-23, and started coaching with the Elite squad back in 2016.
“We have some forwards that can really push the pace and want to play fast,” Hamilton added. “We like our goaltending and we have a very mobile group of defensemen.”
For Captain, the team has chosen third-year forward Shane Baker, a local area resident from Grafton, Mass., who has skated with the Junior Bruins organization since 2019. In NCDC play, he has 64 points in 97 career games.
“He’s a veteran in our program, he plays at a Division I level every day and is a great example for our new players to model their game after,” said Hamilton.
Also among the returning junior bruins are forwards Coleman Jenkins, Alex Scimeca and Declan Chapman, as well as 2022-23 call-up Jackson Delleo. All are “homegrown” Central Massachusetts products, excepting the New Jersey native Scimeca.
Jenkins played parts of two seasons so far with the Junior Bruins (2020-21 and 2022-23) and has registered 26 points in 42 games so far. Scimeca is headed into his third season with 78 NCDC games under his blades and Chapman has registered eight points in 39 games over the course of two seasons.
Delleo, of Franklin, Mass., played in 10 NCDC games last year while also registering 30 points in 23 Tier 1 Hockey Federation regular season and playoff games for the 16U Junior Bruins.
Returning on defense is Colin Wenrich, who will enter his fourth NCDC season this year. Over the prior three seasons, Wenrich has posted 11 points in his 78 career games.
The Junior Bruins have a good crew of newcomers, including 2023 second round NCDC Draft pick Eric Whitelaw, an ‘06 from North Easton, Mass., who recently played for the Bishop Kearney Selects.
“He is one of our draft picks, along with a great group of tenders and free agent signings, that have us excited for the season,” said Hamilton. “There are a lot of players that we’re getting to know and are excited to see the type of start they get off to. We’ve had a productive preseason, and there will be a lot of guys to keep an eye on at all three positions.”
The Junior Bruins have been with the NCDC from the start as one of that league’s and the USPHL’s founders. They know their opposition well and know just how much vigor and grit they need to bring every night to keep the Junior Bruins the tough draw they’ve always been.
“Every game will be a grind. I think you’ll see a lot of games decided late in the third period this season,” said Hamilton. “We’re hopeful our experience will bode well for us in those situations.”