Four ex-OHLers set to join Lions

The York Lions men’s hockey team will add four more players with major junior experience to their roster next season.

The Lions announced yesterday that forward Scott Restoule, defencemen Matt Thomson and Riley Bran, and goalie David Davenport have committed to join the Ontario University Athletics team for the 2008-2009 season.

"We are very pleased that these four student-athletes have chosen York University," Lions head coach Bill Maguire (left) said. "Each one of them has the ability to be an excellent university hockey player."

All five of Maguire’s 2008-2009 recruits have Ontario Hockey League experience. One-time St. Michael’s Majors forward Cassidy Preston, who confirmed his intentions in March, was the first player to agree to join the Lions in 2008-2009.

Restoule led the Northern Ontario Junior-A League in scoring the past two seasons as a member of the Sudbury Junior Wolves. This past season, Restoule helped lead the Wolves to a league championship, sending Sudbury to the Dudley Hewitt Cup Central Canada junior-A championship. Before joining the Wolves, he spent parts of three seasons in the OHL with the London Knights, the Sarnia Sting and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Restoule will join his cousin Matt, a York forward, on the Lions.

"Scott is very excited to be joining our program," Maguire said. "He brings a wealth of experience and scoring ability."

Thomson also had playoff success this past season, helping the Aurora Tigers advance to the semi-finals in the Provincial Junior-A League. He was third among league defencemen with 12 points in 19 playoff games. Thomson played in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers in 2005-06 before joining the Georgetown Raiders in 2006-2007.

"Matt is a very good skater and puck-moving defenceman," Maguire said. "He will compete hard every shift and bring an offensive dimension that will help the power play."

Brand spent the parts of past two seasons with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. He played 92 games for the franchise before joining the Newmarket Hurricanes of the Provincial Junior-A League for the latter part of the 2007-08 season. The Hurricanes played host to the Dudley Hewitt Cup this season.

Brand was recognized for athletic excellence this past season when he earned an RBC junior-A scholarship from Hockey Canada. He also has received an athletic financial award from York.

"Riley made the decision to pursue his degree and also play at a high level," Maguire said. "He is a smooth-skating defencemen that sees the ice very well, two essentials on our Olympic-sized rinkat Canlan Ice Sports."

Davenport finished with a 7-18-3 record for the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack this past season. He spent the previous three seasons with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, posting a record of 35-28-1.

"Our team now has a goaltending tandem as good as any in the OUA," Maguire said. "With David and returnee Carlo Di Rienzo, we are very solid at that position."

The Lions’ 2008-2009 schedule will be announced in June.