By Pat Payton
with Photo Credit
Prior to last Friday night’s St. Marys-London Jr. ‘B’ game, Lincolns’ Alumni group honoured Paul Vanderspank, a former team captain who played five seasons in St. Marys (1972-77). The big left winger was captain when the Barry Hearn-coached Lincs won the All-Ontario title in the spring of 1976 in Collingwood.
For several years, the Belmont area native (No. 6) played with linemates Brian Dundas and Doug Kennedy, and the trio formed a dangerous line.
Vanderspank, accompanied by his wife Debbie (Johnson) and family members, received several gifts from the Lincolns’ Alumni group. Former Lincs’ GM Mike Brogden and Alumni group member presented Vanderspank with his Wall of Fame banner and Debbie with a welcome gift (roses). The banner will be placed on the Lincolns’ Wall of Fame.
Former Lincs’ goalie and Alumni group secretary George Cifa gave Vanderspank a life-time membership to the Lincolns’ Alumni group. Former Lincs’ goalie and Alumni group member Brian Hughes presented Vanderspank with a 2019-20 Lincolns hockey jacket and hat. Former Lincs’ player and Alumni group president Jacques Cousineau presented Vanderspank with a framed collage, featuring his playing days as a St. Marys Lincoln.
Vanderspank also dropped the ceremonial first puck between the two team captains before the GOJHL game.
Several of Vanderspank’s Lincoln teammates as well as club executive members from the 1970s were also in attendance.
–Mike Brogden, who was Lincolns’ GM in the late 1960s to mid-1970s, said Vanderspank was one of the best players he ever brought to St. Marys.
“Paul was an all-round good player; he did everything,” Brogden told the Independent. “He owned the boards and he owned the corners, and he was never out of position.
“(Back-up goalie) Brian Lindsay told me that Paul was probably the best teammate he ever had. And he wouldn’t be the only one who thought that. Any kid we ever brought in from the Belmont area knew how to play hockey. They were well-coached.”
Brogden also described the 1975-76 championship squad as a “special team.”
–Lincolns made a major deal just before the Jan. 10 OHA trading deadline, acquiring two 20-year-old forwards from St. Thomas Stars.
Brock Trichilo and captain Jake Robinson were the top two point-getters with the Stars. Trichilo had 15 goals and 26 points in 30 games. The 5 ft. 9 inch, 165 lb. centre hails from the Township of Schreiber in northern Ontario. Robinson, who played two and a half seasons in St. Thomas, had 10 goals and 20 points in 33 games. The right wing-centre, a Thunder Bay native, is 6 ft. and 180 lbs.
GM Greg Smale said obtaining the veteran forwards gives Lincs more depth, experience and scoring punch.
“Jake played 15 playoff games and has been to the conference final, and he scored eight goals in those playoff games,” Smale told the Independent. “He brings great leadership and he’s a solid 200-foot player.
“Brock is a pure goal-scorer; he can put the puck in the net. He was leading St. Thomas in goals and points. The two players add more goals to our line-up and we’re deeper up front. If we’re looking at going deep in the playoffs, we’re going to need that.”
Robinson played his first two games with the Lincolns this past weekend. Trichilo will see his first action with St. Marys this coming weekend.
Going to the Stars in exchange were forwards Quinton Pepper and Ethan Lamoureux. With the Lincs, Pepper had eight goals and 15 points in 34 games, while Lamoureux had eight goals and 18 points in 30 games.
Pepper, who turns 18 later this month, was in his second full season in St. Marys. He hails from London. Lamoureux, a 17-year-old from Ilderton, was in his rookie season with the Lincolns.
“We moved them to a team where we thought they would get more ice time, and potentially not be healthy scratches here,” Smale said. “We took it into consideration what was best for those two guys. They were nothing but great to us. Two great kids, two great families, and we wish them all the best.”
–London Nationals added big goalie Brock Baier, 20, just before the Jan. 10 OHA trade deadline. The one-time Listowel Cyclone, who hails from Stratford, is 6 ft., 4 inches and 195 lbs.
Baier spent the last season and a half with West Kelowna Warriors of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League (BCHL). To make room for Baier, Nats sent goalie Devyn Clark to Exeter Jr. ‘C’ Hawks.
Baier played against the Lincs last Friday.
–Leamington Flyers added another offensive weapon recently, acquiring forward Nick Smith from Soo Thunderbirds of the NOJHL.
The 20-year-old Soo native compiled 18 goals and 42 points in 30 games this season with the Thunderbirds and was the team’s leading scorer as well as the eighth leading scorer in the NOJHL. Over four seasons, Smith had 91 goals and 110 assists in 180 games as a member of the Thunderbirds.
Flyers also obtained defenceman Hayden Johnston from LaSalle Vipers before the trade deadline.