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Bancroft Rockhounds purchased by local family

Jamie and Nanda Eastman have purchased the Bancroft Rockhounds.

The local family and business owners will take over the reins for the team’s second season in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League.

“The team was not for sale,” Jamie says. The Rockhounds were under league ownership. “It became apparent that we were good at running the show and helping out and they had trust in us,” he says.

“It’s still very surreal,” Nanda tells the newsroom. Jamie adds that their path to becoming owners happened organically over the course of the season.

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In their first season, the expansion Rockhounds went 22-19-1, placing 6th in the North Division and making the playoffs. They went up against the Bradford Bulls in the first round, losing 2 games to 1.

Leon Hartl was the team’s leading scorer with 31 goals and 52 points in 36 games. Vitezslav Klesla was the top-scoring defenseman with 30 points in 38 games. 17-year-old Egor Popov was solid in net going 12-12 during the season with two shutouts. All three were GMHL all-stars.

The Eastmans got involved with the team because Jamie’s father George was the team’s first general manager. George later stepped down, but Jamie and Nanda continued working with the team in various roles. While also housing two players, Nanda worked as the team’s academic advisor and was the timekeeper during games while Jamie did everything from skate sharpening to laundry. He says as the season progressed, they saw how involved the rest of the community got and that made them want to do more with the team.

Jamie estimates that 13 to 18 players could return for next season. “We were the youngest team in the league last year,” noting how the team’s average age was around 18 meaning the majority of the roster is eligible to return next season. Head coach Denny Dubblestyne is also expected to return to the team next season. The 2019-20 season was his first as a coach.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is a wrench in their plans, the Eastmans say they are working on bringing in some new players to fill out the roster.

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