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(Posted 8 a.m., Aug. 17)
New man at the helm as Navan Grads prepare for another season

By Mike Beasley
The Orleans Star

Being a successful team in the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) takes hard work with strong leadership at the top.

The Navan Grads Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club have solid ownership with Steve Barban who has presided over the franchise as president and governor for 13 years.

Navan Grads new head coach and general manager Marty Abrams (left) spent three seasons behind the bench of the Junior A Wellington Dukes from 2012 to 2015. Photo by Amy Deroche / OJHL Images

You can now add the name of Marty Abrams to Grads country after being named head coach and general manager of the club.

The veteran junior hockey coach was named to the position back in April and has been hard at work ever since Barban offered him the dual role with the team.

“I knew the Grads were looking for a guy to come in and take over the program,” the Kingston native said. “Steve and I spoke about the position, from there a deal came together quickly, it’s been a busy spring and summer preparing for the upcoming season.”

Abrams comes to the Grads with over 1,000 Junior ‘A’ games to his credit primarily with the Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). The owner of more than 700 wins during his OJHL days, his teams have made the playoffs 17 consecutive seasons, captured two Buckland Cup league titles, two Dudley-Hewitt Central Canada Region Championships and two national Royal Bank Cup appearances.

Internationally, Abrams has represented Canada seven times, including six times with the Team Canada East staff at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge.

Prior to embarking on a coaching career Abrams was the Head Scout for the London Knights and worked for the OHL Central Scouting Bureau.

Abrams will have his work cut out for him after the organization’s disastrous season in 2017-2018. The team finished with a dismal 9-52-1 record and were dead last in the CCHL standing with 19 points.

The task of raising the long-time franchise back to its feet comes as a welcome challenge to Abrams who made the Wellington Dukes a powerhouse during his OJHL tenure.

“Taking over the Grads is a great opportunity to come in and put a stamp on the franchise,” Abrams explained on the eve of training camp which gets underway this week. “It’s a breath of fresh air to join the Grads with its proud history and rich tradition. Being a part of the CCHL will be exciting, it’s one of the best leagues in Canada.”

The team will have two weeks including four exhibition games to get to know one another and their new coach. Their first game is on Sept. 1 during the league’s annual Labour Day Showcase. The Grads will take on the Brockville Braves at the Bell Sensplex in Kanata.

“I expect training camp to be intense and very competitive,” Abrams stated. “I know what kinds of players will make up my team and be very demanding when it comes to their attitude and leadership throughout the season.”

For the Grads full regular season schedule go to www.navangrads.com.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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