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Coached, managed and owned by former Sault Ste. Marie resident Ryan Leonard, the Elliot Lake Bobcats will debut in the NOJHL effective the 2012 13 season and are expected to form a rabid rivalry with Blind River, which is less than 45 minutes away.
The new coach of the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League plans to draw on the many positive experiences of his 21 year career as a professional player.
Fact is, McEwen isn't that far removed from his Adidas Primeknit Maroon own playing days as he was still skating at age 42 in a United Kingdom professional league.
McEwen, who grew up in Elliot Lake, not far from Blind River, played Jr. A in his hometown before moving on to the Ontario Hockey League with the Kitchener Rangers and the Ontario Colleges Athletic Adidas Originals White And Blue
"I'm hearing a lot of talk already about the Blind River Elliot Lake rivalry," said McEwen, who was just hired as coach of the Beavers a few days ago.
Brown, a 1995 birth year, was a seventh round pick of the Soo Greyhounds from the AAA midget Soo North Stars at the 2011 Ontario Hockey League Draft. Marshall, a 1994 birth year, is also a former North Star. And Muio, a 1992 birth year, is a graduate of the Sault Major Hockey Association.
About 35 years ago, Bragagnolo, who is from Chicago, found his way to Elliot Lake, where he was a goalie with the erstwhile Jr. B Vikings. McEwen said he remembers Bragagnolo.
Joncas is also considering taking on the general manager's duties that have been vacant since Sault Ste. Marie's Jim Yardanoff resigned at the end of the 2011 12 season.
Growing up in Elliot Lake with a family that includes his younger brother Dennis "Q" McEwen who went on to score 50 goals one season as a hardworking left winger with the OHL's London Knights Adidas Neo Women's Cloudfoam
Eligible returnees include top notch forwards Tyler Brown, Scott Marshall and Paul Muio.
Then it was off to play in the United Kingdom, where he met his wife, Julie. Their son, Corey McEwen, who played in the NOJHL with Blind River as a rookie last season, was born in Cardiff, Wales.
Doug McEwen, 48, takes the helm of a Blind River team that won only eight of 50 regular season games during the 2011 12 campaign while icing the youngest team in the NOJHL.
"I like to think I am a good motivator who has a good understanding of how to treat people and what it takes to develop young hockey players," McEwen said.
McEwen, who has helped coach midget hockey in Sudbury the past few winters, plans to call on a few of his old contacts for assistance in the player recruitment department.
United Kingdom, which is a sovereign state, consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
McEwen and Joncas have finalized the Beavers first tryout camp, which is slated for June 23 24 at Countryside Arena in Sudbury.
As for who will assist McEwen with the 2012 13 edition of the Beavers, holdover assistant coach Rusty Joncas will return and former Beaver winger David McCaig has also been added to the staff.
"In fact, Bruno used to date my sister," McEwen recalled. "Hockey is a small world."
In all, McEwen played 21 seasons of pro hockey in the United Kingdom, scoring an amazing 771 goals as a small sized forward.
"Good attitude and a positive approach can go a long way towards building a competitive hockey club," said McEwen, who resides 90 miles from Blind River in Sudbury.
One of them is Bruno Bragagnolo, the well respected coach general manager of the Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League.
Blind River Beavers get new coach
Association with Humber College.
"It's a good league, I got to watch a lot of it the past couple of years," he related. "I'm particularly excited about the challenge of making Blind River a competitive team again. Blind River is a good hockey town and the fans will support an honest effort."
McEwen is well aware of the impending rivalry renewal between his hometown and Blind River.
McEwen replaces coaching veteran Jim Capy, who stepped down as the Beavers bench boss after five years spanning two stints. Capy, a Sault Ste. Marie native, led the Beavers to winning seasons in three of his five terms in Blind River.
McEwen, who moved his family to Sudbury five years ago, is excited about coaching in the NOJHL.
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