NORTH BAY, Ont. – New faces in old places and one old face in a new place will be hallmarks of the North Bay Battalion’s orientation camp this weekend.
Thirty-two players, consisting of 28 skaters and four goaltenders born in 2000, 1999 or 1998, are expected to attend the Ontario Hockey League club’s two-day non-veterans camp. Twelve 2000-born prospects chosen in the OHL Priority Selection on April 9 are slated to take part.
Players will undergo fitness testing Saturday morning before a two-hour on-ice session at Memorial Gardens at 3 p.m., followed by an evening cruise on Lake Nipissing. Another on-ice session starts at 9 a.m. Sunday before the players head home at noon. Admission to the Green-White intrasquad games is free.
With the departure of Ryan Oulahen to become head coach of the Flint Firebirds, John Dean has been promoted to lead assistant coach under Stan Butler, director of hockey operations and head coach.
“John has worked with our team for two years and has done an outstanding job,” said Butler. “He’s proven to me that he’s capable of being our lead assistant coach. We plan to fill John’s position with someone who fits the mold.”
Dean said his promotion is a reflection of the Battalion’s ability to develop both players and coaches.
“First and foremost, I’m really excited for Ryan Oulahen. I think it’s a great opportunity for him. One of the messages that we send all the time is that team success brings individual success, so the team’s done well for three or four years and that brings individual success for players and coaches.”
Dean said he looks forward to “a little more active role during the course of a game.”
“Over the course of the year there’s going to be the odd extra duty, but for the most part still a pretty big hockey focus and game tape and all the usual fun stuff that Ryan and I did anyways.”
Dean, a 35-year-old Toronto native who began his OHL playing career with the North Bay Centennials, joined the Battalion as an assistant coach in 2014, replacing John Goodwin, who left the Troops after one season to become an assistant with the Kingston Frontenacs.
Before joining the Battalion, Dean coached in the North York Rangers organization for six seasons, the last three as head coach of the junior A team.
Left winger Dean played three-plus seasons with the Centennials, including as a teammate of fellow Battalion assistant coach Steve Chabbert, starting in 1997-98. Dean scored 20 goals and earned 29 assists for 49 points in 179 games with North Bay and completed his OHL career in 2000-01 with the Mississauga IceDogs, recording three points, including one goal, in seven games. He joined the junior A Thornhill Rattlers that season, helping them win the Ontario Provincial League title and a berth in the national championship tournament at Flin Flon, Man.
Dean started his professional career in 2001-02 and played three seasons in the Central Hockey League for the Amarillo Rattlers, later the Gorillas, producing 44 goals and 49 assists for 93 points in 191 games.
After retiring as a player in 2004, he attended Toronto’s York University, earning a degree in marketing.