Thoughts on the upcoming season from the Richmond Hill Lightning

The Richmond Hill Lightning will have a new look in 2011-2012. Five rookies are joining the 5th ranked team in the nation. Making their rookie debut’s are:
Megan Gibson – former Lightning Affiliate Player and Richmond Hill alumni
Erika Kiviaho – former Lightning Affiliate Player and Richmond Hill alumni
Anique de Brun Kops – Mississauga alumni
Shelby Stinson – former Lightning Affiliate Player and Whitby alumni
Chelsea Barbosa – Whitby alumni

Barbosa, de Bruyn Kops and Kiviaho also were part of the Team Ontario that captured the gold medal at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax in February 2011. Coach Keith Jasper was asked about his concern in fielding a line up with five rookies. “The players who these rookies are replacing were proven NRL players, so it is not easy to step in and fill those spots. But we honestly feel we are a better team with the new additions,” said Jasper.

Assistant Coach Chuck Munro was ecstatic to gain a 6th defence player with the skills and ability of deBruyn Kops. “Anique was the number # 1 ranked defence player on our chart going into the draft, and we were worried she may not be available when our turn came,” said a smiling Munroe.

Assistant Coach Phil Langford is equally pleased with his new forwards. Langford said “We had Gibson, Kiviaho and Stinson as AP’s (Affiliate players) so we knew they could play and that they would blend with the existing athletes. Barbosa was scouted all year and we knew she had the character and work ethic to be a Bolt.“

Jasper is counting on the quality leadership of Captain Beth Hurren to ensure the athletes blend in and make an immediate contribution. “We are not the same team we were before, and these new players are just going to make us even better ” said Jasper, adding that “with Beth and Duguay, and the help of Markew (recently retired player Jessica Markew who does strength and conditioning coaching) we are going to be in the best shape of any Bolts team I have coached.”

The Richmond Hill Lightning are looking forward to a successful 2011-2012 season with the upcoming World Club Championships in Turku Finland.