When the Stouffville Spirit added Frank Robinson to the staff as Director of Player Personnel you knew that the club had a renewed focus and were going to make a loud impact. Since the beginning of June, that is what Stouffville have done, making some moves with big impact signings.
First the Spirit brass added Adam Burnett from the Hamilton Red Wings, bolstering their blueline. Then they send last year’s starting netminder, Daniel Mannella to Oakville for another big 6’3” defenceman, Greg Allen. That is 143 games of experience added to their blueline. Not done yet, they then at Colton Sansom a 1997 born forward who played 44 games in the NOJHL last season.
A week later and the Spirit added another big piece to the ever-solving puzzle and they add to the building 96 and 97 core of the team, James Mense-Dietrich.
James played with the Barrie Colts Minor Midget team back in 2011-12 and was passed over in the OHL Draft. No problem. He played a season in Jr. C with the Stayner Siskins and he posted 25 goals and 42 points in 28 games. He was 16th in scoring and tied for 7th with most goals in the 2012-13 season… in 12 fewer games than his competition. Advance a year and he is drafted by the Kitchener Rangers and played in the GOJHL putting up 18 goals and 38 points in 39 games, while spending time in the OHL. The forward has definitely excelled with every challenge that has been put in front of him.
Can he do it again at the Jr. A level… of course he can. Which makes him a great addition to the Spirit. He competes hard and never backs down. He has a great skill set that will allow him to adapt to his teammates easily and let him fit in to many situations that the coach may want to put him in.
But what sets the 5’10” forward different than most? He isn’t just a really hard worker who knows how to put pucks in the net. On the ice, James has such a physical edge that you don’t expect from him, he has the ability to throw some clean, heavy open ice hits that can swing momentum in his team’s favour. Off the ice, he is an avid student of the game, constantly watching youtube footage and game film, trying to get an edge on his opponents and to become a better all around player. He finds holes in his game and learns how to improve, which is how he has been able to leapfrog to a new level every season.
There is no doubt that the three previous additions before Mense-Dietrich will make a big impact to the Stouffville Spirit, but the added offensive touch will boost the third lowest scoring team in the league, and possibly catapult them higher than they could have expected.