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High school hockey summer camps: John Marshall

Posted by: Feldman

Jay Nesshas spent the past eight seasons coaching youth hockey players. And while he has enjoyed it, specifically watching/coaching his children, he couldn't supress a smile Tuesday night when I asked him how he enjoyed his return to high school coaching.

"It's fun," he said. "After our first (summer) skate, I went home and told my wife, 'that was really fun.' I've been coaching little guys for eight years. It's a big difference. These guys are focused. They really want to learn. It's been a good summer."

Ness will be a first-year head coach of the Rochester John Marshall Rockets this winter.He coached some of Lourdes' best teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s, taking the  team to multiple state tournaments.

He has been working with JM's players for the past six weeks or so, in practice sessions that the Minnesota State High School League allows during the summer months.

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JM lost eight seniors to graduation who had been varsity regulars since their sophomore years (actually, goalie Bryan Kinghad been a regular since his freshman season). Yet, the Rockets have some talented players returning, and will build from the back-end out.

Goalie Jacob Garvey, a junior, will likely take over for King. Garvey won't be entirely new to varsity play, though. He filled in for King in the first half of the season, when King was out with a MSHSL rules violation.

Defensively, the Rockets welcome back Ryan Lakinand Matt Broman, seniors who will be third-year players. They'll have plenty of guys back up front, too, assuming players such as Gavin Sandwick, Hunter Heightland, Kyle Andrews, Alec McGinnand others I'm probably forgetting.

Point is, the cupboard's not bare by any means, and that has Ness excited.

"It's a matter of figuring out what each player can bring to the table," Ness said. "We've done a lot of skill work (this summer)."

Ness said he's started formulating potential line combinations in his head, as the Rockets will have few practices this winter before games begin.

"This team has some skill," he said. "We'll be strong defensively and some real good young forwards."

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