Raiders select three Stars for 2024-2025 roster

Three Stars - Napanee District Minor Hockey products (from left) Zered Haller, Jayden Holden, and Ethan Boutilier are welcomed by Coach Ben Hagerman after signing as Raiders.

Home cooking appears to be a key ingredient in the Napanee Raiders’ recipe for continued success as the club signed three graduates of an Under-18 Napanee Stars team that reached the OMHA Provincials last year.

Captain Zered Haller and alternates Ethan Boutilier and Jayden Holden inked PJHL Player Agreements this week.

“All three of these players are lifelong NDMHA products and we are proud to keep them at home while they take the next step in their hockey journey,” said Coach Ben Hagerman. “They exemplify the character and intangibles that continue to make the Napanee Raiders program what it is. We are proud to announce these acquisitions and cannot wait to watch their development unfold in a Raiders uniform.”

Two-way player – Zered Haller promises to bring a responsible 200-foot effort to the Raiders.

Haller is a left-handed centreman who prides himself on two-way hockey. Last season, he notched 12 goals and 41 assists in 30 games played with the Stars. He chipped in an assist in one affiliate game with the Raiders.

“I see myself as a two-way player, I’m really good in the defensive end. I’m a quiet guy and i let my playing style do the talking,” he said, noting he’s looking forward to playing in front of the fans and his grandparents who seldom miss a game. “I’m definitely excited to play for a home team I’ve been watching my whole life. They did really well last year, so I think it’s the best place to play.”

Hagerman feels Haller can step in and offer responsible minutes.

“Zered is a strong two-way player and a natural leader. He impressed me all season watching him with the Stars in a prominent role, while skating with us at practice, and getting into a game where he looked comfortable and showed how competitive he is. We are excited to work with Zered as he brings his game along even further.”

The NDSS grad plans to take some time off from schooling before deciding on his next steps off ice.

A right winger, Holden was relied upon heavily to score last year. He had 44 goals and 26 assists for 70 points in 49 games. He’s not shy to use his 6’2, 185-lb frame to protect the puck and gain position in scoring areas. Suiting up as an affiliate last year, he had a two-goal game and added an assist in his other outing.

“Right now, I’m more of an offensive guy. I hope I can develop my two-way game and contribute at both ends of the ice,” Holden said. “I want to get lots of points, hopefully make myself known and help the team. Maybe I’ll try to lay a few hits out, or drop the mitts a few times when that comes.”

Scoring potential – Jayden Holden has been a consistent scorer in minor hockey. He’s hoping that will carry over at the PJHL level.

Holden said he loved the culture playing minor hockey in Napanee and he wants it to continue.

“I went to a lot of the playoff games last year. It was sick getting to watch that and I hope I can be a part of it again.”

Hagerman is optimistic Holden’s scoring history will translate in junior hockey.

“Jayden is a natural around the net. He has the ability to track pucks and finish with a goal. He is strong and has a heavy stick that makes him difficult to defend,” he said. “Jayden scored big goals for the Stars and, while the jump to the PJHL is a big one, we expect he will find ways to score, especially as he gets older and even stronger.”

Another recent NDSS grad, Holden will attend St. Lawrence College for civil engineering in the fall. 

Boutilier is a steady defenceman who displays poise at all times and makes smart, simple plays to exit the zone.  While he had 11 goals and 17 assists in 52 games last year, taking care of his own end is his priority.

“I’d say I’m more of a defensive player. I can jump into the rush when I need to, but I like to play on the defensive side of the game,” he said. “I work well with anyone can play with whoever. I put hockey above anything and I really think I’m a good listener who can adjust to different things that can help me improve my game.”

Boutilier said it’s a nice feeling to know he’ll be playing in front of an engaged fan base with a feeling that all of the community is behind the team. His maternal grandparents, Sandra and Bill Beaubien have each volunteered with the Raiders executive, so he has also grown up watching closely. Now, it’s his turn.

Deft defender – Ethan Boutilier displays good hockey sense and delivers composed play on the blue line.

“I want to get to the playoffs, get far in the playoffs, and just have a good season,” he said.

Hagerman said Boutilier’s progression made the decision to sign him an easy one.

“While scouting Ethan and watching him develop as an AP last year, it became apparent that adding him to the team was a no-brainer,” he said. “Obviously, the adjustment from U-18 to the PJHL will be challenging, however, we believe that his skating and hockey IQ will make it relatively seamless.”

Following his own graduation from NDSS, Boutillier plans to pursue an electrical apprenticeship.

Each player noted they will feel comfortable walking into the Raiders dressing room when training camp opens next month given the fact they often practiced with the team last year and have played with potential teammates like Luke Jarmin and Spencer Cranley in the past.

“I can trust everyone when I come into the room and I know that we can all work together,” said Boutilier.

Holden added “There’s great team chemistry.” And, Haller concluded “practicing here last year quite a bit, we got to know quite a few of the players. I think it will be a good fit.”

Stay tuned for more roster announcements in the coming weeks.