The Brampton Beast announced the signing of the two new additions to the team’s blue line, Mississauga native and international veteran Justin DaCosta and Ryerson Rams alumni Dean Willmott. The duo will join Mathew Maione, Guy Leboeuf and Francis Meilleur as the core of the Beast’s defensive unit.
DaCosta spent his 2014-15 season in Europe and split time between the Elite Ice Hockey League’s (EIHL) Coventry Blaze and the Polish Hockey League’s KH Sanok, where he was teammates with new Beast goaltender Bryan Pitton.
He enjoyed a great season overseas but when presented with the opportunity to return to North America to play for the Beast, his answer was a simple one.
“When I first found out there was a team in Brampton, I always thought it would be a great place to play,” DaCosta said. “I was born in Toronto and I live in Mississauga now and (playing near my hometown) has always been something that I wanted to do. I’m excited about the team that Coach Chaulk is building. He’s bringing in a lot of great players.”
The 30-year-old played in 212 Ontario Hockey League games between 2002 and 2006 for the Barrie Colts, Owen Sound Attack and Mississauga IceDogs before moving on to a successful university career with the University of New Brunswick.
He kicked off his professional career during the 2009-10 Central Hockey League playoffs, suiting up for 10 contests with the Colorado Eagles.
Over the next five seasons, he collected quite a few stamps on his passport as his professional career took him all over the globe, including stops in the United States, France, Austria, Hungary, Finland and the United Kingdom.
Beast Head Coach Colin Chaulk believes DaCosta’s vast international experience will make him an asset on the Beast blue line.
“Justin is a puck-moving power play defense man who will fit in well with our possession style of play,” he said. “His veteran presence will bring valuable experience and leadership to our defense.”
Willmott, 25, is no stranger to Beast fans, having played his rookie season with Brampton in 2014-15. He suited up for 21 contests, scoring one goal and chipping in with two assists and 16 penalty minutes and is excited to remain a member of the Beast for the 2015-16 season.
“It feels great to be back,” Willmott said. “To be able to be able to play in front of my family and friends and stay close to home is important to me. Brampton has a great hockey culture and there have been a lot of great teams that have played in the city. It’s great to be able to come back and play again at the Powerade Centre with the Beast.”
Willmott scored his first goal as a professional at the Powerade Centre in Brampton on March 27, 2015.
The Beast now have 14 players announced for their training camp roster.