Forward from Lucan starting his third season with the Lincolns
By Pat Payton
Justin McIntyre is the lone 20-year-old on the St. Marys Lincolns at the present time.
And the third-year forward from Lucan will be counted on to be a team leader this GOJHL season.
“With Justin being here three years, he’s seen this organization go from the bottom to where it is today,” said Greg Smale, the Lincs’ interim head coach and GM.
“I think it’s beneficial to have a guy like that in the organization. When we’re going through tough times, it’s easy for a guy like Justin to remind everyone that there were a lot tougher times before this. Whatever adversity we do go through, it’s nothing like what we went through just a few years ago.”
Being a veteran, Smale says McIntyre will bring a “calming influence” to the dressing room.
“He’s a player who will show the young guys the ropes and how things are done in St. Marys,” the GM says. “He’s someone who appreciates being here. When he speaks about the Lincolns and St. Marys, he speaks very highly of them both and what this organization has done for him. It’s great for the young guys coming in to hear that.”
Smale adds that McIntyre is the type of player who will help demonstrate the “culture” that the Lincs’ organization feels is so important in this day and age.
“We’re all in this for St. Marys,” the GM says. “No one is making their living doing this . . . it’s for the love of the game and the town, and the love of the St. Marys Lincolns. Justin knows that better than anyone, and he’s a great spokesperson for this team.”
McIntyre clicked for 21 points as a Lincs’ rookie in 2018-19, and then increased his offensive totals to eight goals and 31 points in 49 games last season. He also fired a big game-winning goal in a playoff victory over Strathroy Rockets last year.
“This team is community-based here,” McIntyre replied when asked why he enjoys playing for the Lincolns. “Everyone is involved. You come to a Friday night game; and all the fans are out and the energy is awesome. There’s just great people here in St. Marys.
“Championships are always the goal, but we’re coming in with a young team this year. I’m confident with the guys we have, and I’m excited to get the season going whenever that might be.”
McIntyre has seen the Lincs’ organization make big strides in his short time in St. Marys. He says it all starts at the top.
“I think it all started with the coaches and managers they brought in,” he was quick to note. “It’s about putting the right people in these positions.
“The coaches talk individually to the players, and specifically help you as a player. They don’t just talk to the group with the same message. They care about everyone, and they want everyone to succeed.”
McIntyre is currently a civil engineering student at London’s Fanshawe College. However, if he were offered a U.S. hockey scholarship, it’s an option he would seriously consider.
Welcomes leadership role
McIntyre welcomes the role as a team leader, and one player he hopes to emulate is feisty Cayse Ton, who served as the Lincs’ captain last season.
“I liked the way Cayse carried himself, on and off the ice,” McIntyre said. “On the ice, he never took a shift off and led by example that way. He was one of our hardest-working players. Off the ice, if a teammate was struggling, he would talk to them and teach them. From playing in the Quebec (Major Jr. ‘A’) League, he had so much experience. He was a great role model for all the young guys.
“I definitely want to be a team leader here,” he added. “We have a good skills-based team this year, and I want to show the first-year players the ropes and get them accustomed to playing in this league.”