The Chatham Maroons’ coaches may want to bring along Ty Moss when they go recruiting players.
The enthusiastic 18-year-old from Windsor was one of four forwards to receive a commitment for next season after spring camp ended Sunday at Thames Campus Arena.
There are still several open spots on the roster, but Moss’s expectations are sky-high.
“I know we have a good team coming in, a lot of players coming in from all over,” said the former Amherstburg Admiral. “(We’ll do) a lot of bonding and do a lot of damage on this league.”
Adrian Stubberfield of Chatham, Tate Bowden of Tilbury and Braedon Caetano of Leamington are the other commitments.
The Maroons need them to help restock the roster after losing nine 20-year-olds to graduation.
Moss has faith the Maroons will contend for a title after placing third in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Western Conference this season and losing in the first round of playoffs.
“I talked to the coaches and know what I’m getting into,” he said. “I’m confident we’re going to be a good team. Definitely a team to beat.”
Stubberfield, 16, and Bowden, 17, affiliated with the Maroons this season while playing midget hockey.
Stubberfield had 13-13-26 totals in 33 games with the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs. Bowden had 12-10-22 totals in 28 games with the Windsor Jr. Spitfires.
Caetano, 17, played for the Wheatley Omstead Sharks. Like Moss, he was a rookie in the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Stobbs Division.
The Maroons like these four players so much, they committed to them before the three-day camp, head coach Kyle Makaric said.
“They’re guys that we already knew,” he said. “We know what they can become and what they’ve shown so far.”
The five-foot-nine Stubberfield scored two goals in three games as a Maroons call-up this season. He also played one game for them in 2017-18.
“They liked what they saw when I was playing. It was nice to know someone wanted me,” he said about their commitment.
Stubberfield, who turns 17 in December, said he was nervous at first facing off against 19- and 20-year-olds.
“But once I got my first goal, it just shows if you listen and do what you need to do on the ice, good things can happen,” he said.
Stubberfield has the skills and hockey IQ to make plays that many players can’t, Makaric said.
“Stubberfield is, to me, a real smart player,” said the Maroons coach. “He makes great decisions with the puck. He makes passes in positions that other players can’t. He has great vision.”
Like Stubberfield, Bowden practised regularly with the Maroons. He played two games with them this season after getting two points in seven games as a call-up in 2017-18.
“This year especially, I used my body a lot more,” said the six-foot-three, 237-pound Bowden. “Obviously I’d still like to use it more. And I’ve got a good shot and I can pass it.”
Makaric is impressed with not only Bowden’s size but also his power.
“He’s not afraid to go to the net,” Makaric said. “A lot of players don’t do that anymore, unfortunately. He’s a throwback power forward type of guy … and he’s underrated for how fast he is for a big guy. He moves really well.”
Caetano was the Sharks’ leading scorer with 36 points in 40 games despite being their youngest player.
The six-foot-two, 165-pound Caetano prepared for his junior ‘C’ rookie season last summer by working with a trainer and putting on a few pounds. He plans to do the same this year.
“I put in a lot of work off the ice,” he said.
He’s eager to play with and against more skilled players in junior ‘B’.
“I’m trying to have a good, strong year. Put up some good points. Become a better player,” said Caetano, who had 15 goals and 21 assists.
“I’m mostly a playmaker,” he said. “I like to set guys up.”
He’s a “spectacular player,” Makaric said.
“Caetano is just an elite player, a two-way player,” said the Maroons coach. “He can shoot, he can skate, he can pass. He’s a very good offensive player but he’s also good defensively.”
The five-foot-11, 200-pound Moss is a potential fan favourite after posting 24 points and 40 penalty minutes in 29 games with the Admirals.
“Moss is as tough as anybody,” Makaric said. “He’s mean. There’s not one guy that’s in our league that he’s going to be afraid of. He’s a killer. If there’s a loose puck anywhere near, he’ll bite a guy’s arm off to get it.”
Moss describes his style as hard-working. His goal? Win a championship.
“Whatever it takes to win,” he said. “If I have to lay a hit (or) get a goal, I’ll do it.”