Defending champion Stallions sign trio of players for upcoming '18-19 season

by Matt Mackinder

The defending President's Cup champion Essa Stallions announced a trio of signings on Thursday.

Forward Jake Mortley and defensemen Collin Farr and Jeremy Fortin will don the Stallions colors for the 2018-19 season.

"Jake has a lot of potential," said Essa head coach and director of hockey operations Sylvain Cloutier. "He is going to come back to us again this year, and we expect big things from him. Need him to be better, more disciplined and keep things simple. Straight-line speed is a major strength for him. We expect him to use it more."

"It's nice to have Jake back," added Stallions GM and assistant coach David Lang. "He will be tested very early as to how he has grown in the offseason. We expect him to be a leader this season, and can bring more physicality to his game. He plays on the edge, and that's something we love. We just hope he stays on the right side of it." 

In 32 games with the Stallions last season, Mortley tallied six goals and 12 assists for 18 points.

Farr, a 2001-born local product of Wasaga Beach, Ont., will be looking to hold down the right side of the blue line for the upcoming season.

"We're excited to add the younger guys into the mix this season," Cloutier said. "Collin will join the other younger signings from the summer as our young guns. They will learn a lot this year, and we plan to develop them the best we can, and have them play where we can."

"A lot of guys and parents forget that this whole process is not a sprint - it's a marathon," said Lang. "We're not putting these younger guys into bad situations or into something they aren't going to be prepared for. We're pretty clear with the younger guys that they are here to develop. They aren't going to be playing every game for us. They are going to get better, and when the time comes for us in the next few seasons, we hope that we've done our job along the line, and they can fill big roles for us."

Fortin comes from the province of Quebec and started the 2017-18 season with the Stallions, but was traded to the Grey Highlands Hawks in a package of players that saw the Stallions receive forward Daniel Bureau in return.

"The trade last season really helped the development of Jeremy," said Cloutier. "We had a really deep team last year, and we thought he deserved a chance to play and grow as a player. We knew he would get a great chance in Markdale to play, contribute, and now we get to bring back a kid who improved immensely and leaves us hoping that he can be a big contributor for us."

"'Forts' is a good kid, and a good player," Lang said. "We're going to be working on a few things for him this season. Need to keep things simple, and he has to remember that less is more sometimes. We're excited to have him back and look forward to getting started."

In 28 games last year split between the Hawks and Stallions, Fortin totaled a goal and 11 assists for 12 points and 31 penalty minutes.