THE CAPTAINS: NIAGARA-BOUND REIST OFF TO QUICK START IN COBOURG

COBOURG, ON - SEPTEMBER 18: Sacha Trudel #27 of the Wellington Dukes and Andy Reist #61 of the Cobourg Cougars battle for the puck during the second overtime period at the Cobourg Community Centre. (Photo by Shawn Muir / OJHL Images)

Ontario Junior Hockey League resident writer Ron Valentine is profiling the 2023-24 team captains across The OJ. 

BY RON VALENTINE

Andy Reist, who is committed to NCAA Division 1 Niagara University for the 2024-25 season, is wearing the captain’s jersey this term for the Cobourg Cougars. 

The ‘C’ looks to be a good fit. 

Reist has 10 points in the Cougars first five games, good for a share of the league lead in scoring. That includes his four assists in the Cougars 6-5 comeback, overtime win over Wellington last night in Cobourg.

 Andy had 38 goals, good for fifth spot in the OJHL, in 2022-23 and was second on the club with 69 points. Born in Waterloo, ON, he played his minor hockey in the local Wolves organization and he was drafted in 2020 by the London Knights in the OHL’s priority selection.

On behalf of the Cougars general manager Adam Holzmann, newly-appointed head coach Connor Armour said: “We look for leaders in many ways but a hockey team needs  a voice, not only in the community, but even more importantly between the coaching staff and the players. Andy has the natural ability to lead with both his voice and actions. His hard work and focus gives the staff the comfort we need knowing that he is pushing for the same goals we are.” 

Connor put up 274 points in five seasons as a Cougar before spending four years at Division 3 powerhouse Adrian College in Michigan. He was an assistant coach last season. Adam steps up to the GM role. 

“I’m looking forward to playing with Connor as head coach,” the new captain said during the preseason, “We started last season off pretty well but overall the second half was not so good and our big rivals, Trenton, put us out of the playoffs in Round 1. That’s something returning players will be thinking about this season!”

“I was pretty happy with my 2022-23 season. I was lucky to play with George Krotiris, our captain, and Trevor Hoskin and that helped me a lot. Trevor got a scholarship with Canisius College in the off-season. He really deserved it and George will be at Robert Morris. I’m looking forward to Trevor being back with us this season along with Logan Kelly and Carson Durnin up front, they are set for big seasons. Our defence is shaping up to be really strong, led by Owen Wilson and Riley Pitt. Ryan Piros is our returning goalie and he and Dillon Grover will make a strong tandem.” 

‘”I was captain for five seasons in minor hockey so I’m definitely used to the responsibility and I relish it. In my final junior season I want to get the team further than we did last year. I’m working on becoming a strong 200-foot player. I like to create offense for sure and everyone likes to score goals but getting pucks to the net and winning little battles is important too.” 

I’ll be a teammate of  Jack Richard (Burlington Cougars captain last season) next year at Niagara. His 53 goals were a big accomplishment and it would be really great if I could come close to that mark this year but, first and foremost, the most important thing for me now is to help the club be successful.” 

“I’ll be focusing this season on puck control and advancement, getting the puck up the ice at top speed, George was really good at that last season and now I have to step more into that role. Being patient with the puck in the offensive area is also key.”

“I’m a bit of a fitness nut so I spend a lot of time working out, doing weights, that’s my passion and my hobby is getting out on the golf course whenever I can. It gives me the break I sometimes need.”

Andy has a really good knowledge of the junior hockey game and in his third season as a Cougar look for him to be a strong voice for the club. Opposing goalies will once again have to keep their heads up when he has the puck.  

Follow Ron Valentine on X @ronandlynda