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The Mitchell Hawks of the Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) shared their first two preseason games Sept. 10-11, losing 5-3 at Woodstock before rallying for a 6-4 home triumph over the same. team of the Navy Vets as they continue to prepare for the 2021-22 regular season.

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The team ended their preseason last weekend with road games at Tavistock and Wellesley, respectively, with results not available at time of publication.

The real thing – the 36-game regular season – starts in Kincardine on October 1, followed by their home opener one night later, on October 2, at 7 p.m. against Hanover.

Tyson Hall, Caleb Musselman and Mark Cassidy (power-play) scored in loss, while six different scorers found their way to the net in the second leg: Malcolm McLeod, Patrick Holloway, Ryan Murray, Owen Hodgkins, Seth Huygen and Lobby. Braeden Burdett had three assists.

Some tinkering continues, but as of September 14, the Hawks had officially signed 12 forwards, five defensemen and a goalie as they prepare for the Pollock Division’s 2021-2022 campaign.

Hawks general manager Josh Keil said Evan Dowd and Sean Chisholm are two over-aged forwards, along with veterans Ryan Murray, Braeden Burdett, Tyson Hall, Carter Lewis and Zach Dow up front. Newcomers include Nolan Gagnier (acquired from Goderich) and Mark Cassidy (acquired from Lucan) while inked rookies are Jared Lesouder, Patrick Holloway and Seth Huygen, a Mitchell minor hockey product. Lesouder and Holloway are originally from Stratford, with Holloway the final Junior B Warriors Cup from Stratford.

“Of our 12 forwards, all could play the first six minutes of any other PJHL team,” Keil exclaimed, reiterating that depth at this position is what jumps off the page into a new campaign. “It will be an air fight every night so these guys have some playing time. They are going to push each other but we have four strong lines.

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Keil was particularly happy to sign Holloway, who intended to play at Wingham last year, but COVID-19 messed things up.

“He could have had a bigger role elsewhere, but he chose to come here with his buddies,” he said. “It was good to nail him.”

A separate shoulder suffered by forward Cole Lewis, another rookie, kept him on the set for a few weeks, but his status is in doubt as he could return to midget AAA hockey once fully healed.

Keil has announced five contract defenders, led by fullback Malcolm McLeod and four guys whose first names start with C: Callum McMann, Charlie Rankin, Callan Ferguson and Carter Musselman, the latter two Stratford rookies. The Hawks, along with every other team, are still beating the bushes for other defenders, Keil noted.

The fourth major is goaltender Tyler Parr, a Hawk aged 16 in 2017-18. Its safeguard has not yet been determined with various possibilities still at the camp. Lucas Bain, a midseason addition in 2019-20 who played in the crease with Seth Monkhouse in that playoff run, has been traded to North Middlesex.


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