It’s been a busy spring for the Stouffville Spirit of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
The team hired a new coaching staff and acquired three players from the OJHL champion Oakville Blades.
Andre Darlow is the new head coach. He replaces Rob Acton, who accepted a full-time coaching job at the Hill Academy in Vaughan this spring.
Darlow brings several years of experience in high-level midget hockey across the GTA to Stouffville. Darlow coached the Ajax Pickering Raiders midget AAA team for the past two seasons, leading the squad to the OMHA Championship weekend this spring.
The Raiders won the OMHA championship and finished second at the OHF championships a year ago. From 2013-17, the Brooklin resident was the head coach of the Markham Majors midget AAA team in the GTHL.
“I’m extremely excited and grateful at the opportunity given to coach a team with such great history and passion for junior hockey,” Darlow said. “The community of Stouffville shares the same passion for their team, and I’m excited to be part of that.
“Ken (Burrows) and his team have assembled an exciting group of young talent, mixed with veteran leadership, that I am excited to work with. The team has tremendous upside and potential for success.”
Burrows, the Spirit general manager, was impressed by Darlow’s teams and his ability to recruit players.
“Andre is a proven coach who is ready to work at the next level,” Burrows said. “He’s very experienced. He’s offensive-minded, and his players say he is a great communicator.”
Darlow has named John Flude (analytics coach), Andrew Campoli (defence coach) and Brandon Kearnan (forward coach) to his staff.
Acton, an ex-NHL coach and player, remains the director of player development with the Spirit.
The Spirit obtained goaltender Chris Elliot and forwards Tanner McEachern and Holden Doggett from the Oakville Blades in a cash deal announced June 8.
“We’re really happy to acquire Chris, Tanner and Holden and we welcome them to our team,” Burrows said.
Oakville won the Buckland Cup (OJHL) and Dudley-Hewitt Cup (Central Canada) championships this spring. They lost in the semifinals at the national championship tournament in Brooks, Alberta.
Elliot, 20, played three seasons in Oakville. He’s coming off a season where he went 22-5-0 with a .909 save percentage and 2.54 goals-against average. He recorded four shutouts.
McEachern, 18, had six goals and 11 assists in 45 games as a rookie in the OJHL last year. The previous season, he had 47 points in 48 games with the Jr. B Welland Canadians.
Doggett, 19, had seven goals and 15 assists in 40 games last season, his first full year with the Blades
For information on the Spirit, visit stouffvillespiritpointstreaksites.com.
Main photo: The Stouffville Spirit acquired Tanner McEachern (left) and Holden Doggett from the Oakville Blades.