Royals announce slew of players signings with new 2020-21 CPJHL season fast approaching

by Matt Mackinder

The Langton Royals have been busy preparing for the upcoming 2020-21 CPJHL season.

In recent weeks, the Royals have signed several players, including forwards Jonas Benjamin, Juliusz Kowalski, George Micah, Justyn Noltcho-Clarke, Connor Roberts, Harley Werminsky and Blaine Young, and goaltender Philippe Izzi.

Benjamin was one of the Royals' most improved players last season and will be a big part of the Royals lineup this upcoming year.

“He was one of the guys I knew we had to have back," said Langton coach Jason Do Paco. "I see something in him. He can make a team tick when he is going and we started to see that at the end of the season. Among others, he really grew as a player but most importantly, as a person. He became a fan favorite and very recognizable in the community. I know Jonas can bring a great 200-foot game and help us offensively. I’m excited about this return.”

“I found a great place here," said Benjamin. "This is a family; they care about you. They don’t just tell you that. They actually care about you on and off the ice and want the best for your life. That really made me want to do my best and be the best person I could be. This is an awesome organization and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of it. I’m looking forward to coming back and bringing my best.”

Last season, Kowalski had a great first full season at 16 years of age with the Royals, also being invited to the Las Vegas showcase to represent the CPJHL All-Stars in his rookie season.

"Jules has been with me for a few years now, practicing with a program I ran in the past and then playing here in Langton, so he knows exactly what I expect," Do Paco said. "He has grown as a player over the last two years and his work ethic is 100 percent, day in and day out. I wont be surprised if he has a another great season offensively. He plays physical, and he is responsible defensively. He is just in need of more experience and will get his opportunity this year to gain that."

"It's great being back," added Kowalski. "I have been working hard all summer long, both off the ice and on the ice. I would like to improve on last year's season. I thought I did well but know this season can be a breakout year for me. I want to win and I want to have some fun this season - winning is fun. My goals are to do as well as we can this year and to get myself to a playing level so I can progress to a higher level."

Micah comes to Langton out of the Easterville organization in Manitoba. 

"George will be a big presence on the ice," Do Paco said. "He has a good right-handed shot and likes to play in traffic. He moves the puck well and is a team guy. I've been chatting with George for quite some time. He seems to want the right things for himself and I feel with this opportunity, he will be able to fulfill some of those aspirations he has for himself."

"I wanted to become a Royal because I heard only good things about the organization, program, and the people in it," noted Micah. "I could also see myself suiting up for the Royals. My goals for the season are to become a better player and to make a lot of new friends. My goals for the future are to play hockey collegiately in Canada or the United States."

Noltcho-Clarke is back with the Royals and was another CPJHL All-Star last season for the Las Vegas showcase event.

"Character guy, won't leave his teammates hanging out to dry," said Do Paco. "He plays hard and he is intelligent. He knows how to use his body to separate the puck from the man as well as protect the puck with his body allowing him to create time and space for his teammates. He is a big part to our power play, as well, as he is a big body in front of the net that knows how to play there and will be expected to be a top guy on our penalty kill this season. Justyn has a lot of pro attributes, and he just needs to sharpen up in some areas and get better in some other areas. I think he will have a really good year building on last season." 

"I'm really happy to be back - this place is amazing," said Noltcho-Clarke. "We get treated well, but we work hard for what we get, so it's fair. I'm looking to build on last season and be more of a leader. I want to win and I know the guys from last year along with the guys I have spoken to already want to win as well. I want to improve on my weaknesses this season and our coaching staff can help with that as I have seen firsthand how knowledgeable and able they are to help each player here."

Roberts comes to the Royals out of the Tillsonburg Rep system and is a hard-nosed, gritty forward with a hard shot and very good speed.

“Connor has been hanging around my teams for a couple years and knows what it’s about around here," Do Paco said. "He understands the dedication and commitment it takes to play in this program. So far this summer, he has shown me nothing but what I expect through his training at The Grind - my offseason training program. He committed himself to getting faster, stronger and more explosive through hard work, and it shows. I think Connor will turn some heads this year and get himself on some radars pretty quick. I’m excited to see what he brings to our lineup. I also want to thank Connor's mom, grandma and family for helping out.”

“What made me become a Royal? I use to watch a lot of the games and loved the skill level and speed in the game," Roberts said. "I wanted to make myself better and get on the team. I thank Jason for letting me come aboard this awesome team. My goal as a Royal is to get better and help this team win what we all want to win and be able to go play pro somewhere in a few years.”

Werminsky is one of two 21-year-old players signed so far to the Royals organization. Noltcho-Clarke is the other. The CPJHL implemented this new rule effective this 2020-21 season to allow players an additional year to develop. 

"Having the 21-year-old rule come into the league this season is amazing to help further our league and make it stronger," Werminsky said. "Players like Harley Werminsky who have raw ability and talent need this extra year. Harley is on the cusp of being great. He is a very coachable player with a very hard shot. His biggest attribute is his willingness to learn with a 'no quit' attitude. I enjoy coaching Harley. He helps our penalty kill in a big way and he scores big goals. His numbers were on the lower end last year and that's something I think he needs to work on, but I have a good feeling he will cash in on that this season. 

"Harley was sought out by our affiliate in Sweden, IFK ORE, this year but with some careful consideration, all parties believed it was in Harley's best interest to come back to Langton for one more year before making the jump next season."

"I am really happy to be back with the Royals family - it's an amazing atmosphere," added Werminsky. "Mrs. Do Paco is always baking us cookies and Mr. Do Paco always has the things we need around to be prepared to play. We get to travel on a top-end bus with movies and WiFi, we live-stream our games, and my parents get to watch. This place has everything I need to develop which includes a top-end staff in Jason, Mark and Lorne who watch after us like we are their own. I'm excited to be back and ready to work hard for my goals."

Izzi joins the Royals with previous junior hockey playing time.

“I like Philippe’s attitude and demeanor - he brings a competitive edge," Do Paco said. "He has Junior C experience and should challenge our players as well as the rest of the league. We know he will bring a steady work ethic and with the guidance of our goalie coach, Mark Jones, he will do very well.”

“I know this is a great program and they have what I need to succeed in regards to training and development," said Izzi. "They also provide an exposure package like I’ve never seen before. I’m very excited to get started.”

Young is a right wing out of Easterville, Manitoba.

"We like his size, and he is a young player who is anxious to get started at the junior level," Do Paco said. "Blaine will join us very soon and we are excited to have him here."

"What inspired me to come to the Royals was getting a detailed idea of how the program works," Young said. "They have a lot of passion and help you develop and get to where you want to go. My goals for the upcoming season are pretty simple. I want to get better as a player, to learn more of what I can do on and off the ice, and to make some great friends with my teammates. I would eventually like to get a scholarship or play overseas."