The French River Rapids Hockey Club of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League is pleased to announce two significant off-ice signings.
Canadian hockey icon Sherry Bassin has assumed the role of director of hockey operations and Ken Strong will take over as head coach.
Mr. Bassin is an iconic figure in the Canadian hockey community and has over 40 years of experience as a general manager, coach and owner.
His resume highlights many championships including a Memorial Cup victory with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and close to a dozen OHL Championships.
Mr. Bassin was also the assistant GM with the Quebec Nordiques for several years.
During the 1980’s he was the GM and assistant coach of the Canadian World Junior team that won two gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
He has a strong track record for turning franchises into winning programs as seen with the Oshawa Generals, the Soo Greyhounds and the Erie Otters.
Sherry is known for finding talent and has witnessed many of his players progress to the NHL, including Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome.
“I wanted to be part of the French River program because I love small town hockey,” stated Bassin.
“I come from a small community in Saskatchewan so it’s true to my heart,” added Bassin.
“These communities live and breathe hockey, so it will be gratifying to bring a winning program to French River.”
Ken Strong, the former OHL star with the Peterborough Petes who also went on to play in the NHL and in Europe, comes to the team as a one of the most accomplished coaches in the Greater Toronto Hockey League with the famed Toronto Marlies.
He has led every team that he has coached to winning championships. Ken was head of player development for the Salzburg Red Bull International program in Austria and also coached the junior team of Salzburg where he won the junior championship in 2012-2013.
He is best known for his ability to mentor and develop players to achieving the next level. He has helped a significant number of players enter the OHL, many of which are now in the NHL including, Connor McDavid, Ryan Strome and Sam Bennett to name a few.
“I stepped in to coach a few games last season as a favour to my longtime friend Paul Frustaglio,” said Strong. “My wife Bettina and I were so impressed and taken back by how the community really cares for their hockey team. I want to help them win and become a destination for players who want to experience a great community who truly has passion for their team. French River is the classic example of what small town hockey is all about.”
President of the French River Rapids, Paul Frustaglio has confidence that with Mr. Bassin’s extensive experience in hockey management and with Mr. Strong’s winning track record, players will quickly gain confidence and be a contending team this coming season.
“In addition to welcoming depth of knowledge and experience to the hockey program, the community of Noelville and the French River area will benefit from some much-needed stability for their beloved hockey team,” announced Frustaglio. “We are very lucky to have both of these outstanding hockey minds join our team. We want the Rapids to be the destination for players who want to reach the next level, whether that be the OHL or a collegiate career.”
The Rapids will be holding their Spring/Rookie Camp in Sudbury on April 21st – 23rd, 2017 at Countryside Arena. The Camp is for all unattached players and rookies in the 1997-2001 ages groups or those with permission to skate forms.