By: Paul Osborne
The Guelph Storm addressed their greatest need heading into training camp by trading for overage defenceman Jack Hanley from the Ontario Hockey League’s defending champion Hamilton Bulldogs. In exchange the Storm gave up a second round pick in 2019, a third round pick in 2021 and a fourth round pick in 2020.
“I think he brings a lot of what of what we are missing and need,” said Storm head coach and general manager George Burnett. “He plays the game the right way, has outstanding leadership skills and habits, and will set a great example for our young and old players and will complement our group on the back end very much.”
Hanley had two goals and 12 assists in 63 regular season games last season and picked up three assists in 21 playoff games. While Burnett said he has very good puck moving skills, his forte is as a stay-at-home defenceman.
“He is the type of guy you can count on when things get tough,” said Burnett who originally drafted Hanley and coached him with Belleville and Hamilton. “He will play the same way on the road as he does at home. He blocks shot and plays hard in the corners and in front of the net and not every player enjoys that. He will be a good complement to our current defencemen who are good puck movers.”
My first thought is that he will play with Ryan Merkley allowing him to rush the puck when it makes sense and Burnett agreed that is a good possibility.
“He can certainly play with high-end guys but until we go through camp and know if everyone is healthy we don’t have anything written in stone but I would not be surprised if he ended up beside Ryan.”
So that leaves eight defenceman heading into camp with a very good likelihood of locking up a spot. Merkley, Hanley, Dimitri Samorukov, Owen Lalonde, and Mark Wooley will have five of the spots, with Anthony Aguanno (who played seven games with the Storm last year as a 16-year-old), and the first and second round draft picks this year, Danill Chayka and Zack Terry battling for the others. Burnett is happy to go into camp with this group and will monitor the team’s progress through the fall to decide if additional help is necessary. But he says Hanley’s addition solidifies things.
“Jack has been a captain on his minor midget team and will assist our leadership group,” said the coach who had a couple of conversations with Hanley and his family before the deal was struck. “We are not suggesting we are ready to win a championship at this time but with Jack in our line-up we are closer.”
Hanley comes with a reputation for having tremendous character as well. The Bulldogs website in announcing the trade said, “Hanley not only played an important role on the ice, he also had a great impact off the ice. He was in the schools talking about anti-bullying and healthy living and also dedicated endless hours to the team’s charity – The Bulldogs Foundation.”
Hanley was also a two-time OHL academic player of the month.
From the Land of Oz … The Storm announced this week that they hired Chad Wiseman as a new assistant coach. He replaces Luca Caputi who moved on to the Kingston Frontenacs as an assistant there. It is expected that Wiseman will oversee the forwards on the bench during games and handle much of the off-ice planning for the team for things like travel and accommodations. He was most recently the coach of the tier II Burlington Cougars.