The Sarnia Legionnaires have added a pair of players that they think will help make them a championship contender.
At a press conference Saturday, the Jr. ‘B’ hockey team announced it was signing American goalie Jorgen Johnson and Sarnia-born defenceman Nash Nienhuis.
“I’m very happy and excited (to welcome the pair),” head coach Mark Davis said. “I can’t wait until the season starts.”
Johnson, who stands six feet tall and weighs 185 pounds, won a Michigan state championship last winter while toiling for Victory Honda of the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League.
A native of Clarkson, Michigan, Johnson was a standout at the Legionnaires spring mini-camp last month.
He has a good glove hand and has a reputation as a strong puck handler who communicates well with his defenceman.
Johnson, who hopes to win an NCAA Division 1 scholarship, said, “communication is the key. You’re the one out there directing traffic. I play the puck a lot. It helps the defencemen.”
Asked why he became a goalkeeper, he said, “I wanted to be a goalie ever since I was five or six. Obviously it’s a team sport, but you have to rely on yourself. It’s just me and the puck.”
Johnson added he’s looking forward to playing for the Legionnaires because they have a proud tradition and a huge fan base. “Sarnia is definitely a hockey town,” he said.
Nienhuis is no stranger to Legionnaire fans, having played with the club in the playoffs last spring as a 16-year-old midget call-up. In 10 regular season and playoff contests, he collected three assists.
The St. Pat’s High School student, who stands 5’9 and weighs 160 pounds, also hopes for an NCAA scholarship.
A graduate of the Lambton Jr. Sting ‘AAA’ major midgets and a draft pick of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, Nienhuis is the son of former Boston Bruin Kraig Nienhuis.
“I see the ice well and I can jump into plays (when an offensive opportunity presents itself),” he said when asked to describe his style.
Nienhuis added he will spend the summer in the gym, trying to put on weight before the season opens next September.
The Legionnaires also announced Shawn Tiffin has joined the coaching staff as an assistant.