Late last week the Orangeville Flyers took another step towards improving on their miserable 2013/14 season. The season was not pretty on the ice, and wasn’t pretty off the ice either. The month of November was a difficult one for Orangeville, they released one player, assigned another to Jr B and traded 4 veterans accounting for 35 goals and 88 points. To put that in contrast, the final roster for the Flyers, scored 70 goals in the whole year. Then comes January and with the trade deadline approaching, the team traded away 3 more players while releasing two. Everyone knew what the season was by then, and it was all about impressing the Orangeville brass so they have a spot to play next season.

But that was all last year, and this year is fast approaching. With a new coaching staff in place, headed by Mike Caruso, the team has made some player changes already, and maybe none more significant than the addition of John DiLorenzo. DiLorenzo is a shutdown defender who knows how to skate and block out practically anyone from getting to the crease. He was drafted by the London Knights and played the last two season for his hometown Port Colborne Pirates in the GOJHL. DiLorenzo even wore the C on his chest last season.

The 6 foot 200lb defenceman had options at the end of the year and after two years in his hometown at the Jr B level, he wanted another challenge, “It is hard to leave your home town, and your hometown team. We had a good locker room and it was a great year for me. I had a couple opportunities at the end of the year, and after weighing them, I decided to take the jump to Orangeville and Jr A hockey.”

What would make a player with the ability to play in the OHL decide to take on the task of joining a team that was in the basement the year prior?

“I met Coach Caruso and we had a great talk about what he wanted to do this season. He talked about the changes they made and they are all positive. I liked the upside that this team has and to be a part of it, is the type of challenge every player would like to take.”

One thing about last year’s team that was arguably missing, leadership. John may not have played in Jr. A yet, but there is no mistaking his experience in junior hockey and the fact that he captained a team at the age of 17, speaks volumes about his leadership ability.

“It was definitely a great experience to wear the C last season. It was a big deal to me, I wasn’t just representing my team, but also my town. It meant a lot to know that the guys believed in me enough to follow me on the ice and to buy into what we wanted to do. I may not wear a letter this season, but I will be the voice in the dressing room when needed.”

Despite the addition to the team, there is still a lot of skepticism about where Orangeville is going. The team is looks like it may be as young as last season, and the core of this team has not been to the playoffs before.  That may seem like a big task to take for any new addition to the team.

“It definitely is going to be a challenge at first. But the best part about coming to Orangeville will be turning heads and proving people wrong.“