Sophomore defenceman Jakob Brahaney, like all of his Kingston Frontenacs teammates, is anxious to get past the pre-season and into the Ontario Hockey League regular season.
The Friday, Sept. 22, home opener for the Frontenacs against the Erie Otters can’t come soon enough for the 18-year-old Brahaney, who sees it as a time of opportunity for himself.
“I am looking forward to getting the second year started. There is going to be some opportunity in our lineup,” said Brahaney, referring to a team defensive corps that will no longer have Stephen Desrocher or Nathan Billitier, both overage graduates, logging big minutes.
“I am here to work for a spot. We’ll see how it goes.”
Brahaney, who is from Campbellford, was selected in the second round of the 2015 draft. The Frontenacs took defenceman Jacob Paquette six spots ahead of Brahaney.
Paquette stuck as a rookie while Brahaney, after spot duty over 16 games, was moved to the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League for the rest of the 2015-16 season. It turned out to be a good seasoning for Brahaney, who in his first full season last year with the Frontenacs played 53 regular-season games and another 11 in the playoffs.
The six-foot-two, 190-pound left-shot defenceman has that year of experience and, like his teammates, is working under the eyes of new coach Jay Varady and assistant coaches Kurtis Foster and Phil Mangan.
“For sure it is a clean slate. They didn’t have any expectations really for us. Obviously Kurtis was around the league [as an assistant coach for the Peterborough Petes last year], so he kind of had an idea on some of us,” Brahaney said.
“Jay coming in from the [United States Hockey League], he didn’t know any of us. It’s been real good. Kind of a fresh start.”
Varady said second-year players in any junior league are all trying to take that next step.
“The league gets a little younger and they get a little older. Players graduate and there is more responsibility. So that is going to be [Brahaney’s] test right now,” Varady said.
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