The Pontiacs home opener is Friday at the RJ. Assistant Coach Larry Draper says the energy is positive, “we’re excited, we’re looking forward to it. Our veteran group is very much looking forward to it.” That may have a lot to do with the fact the home opener is against long-time rivals, The Lloydminster Bobcats.
Draper says the veterans are making sure the squad’s 15 rookies are prepared for Friday’s match-up, “the vets are talking to the young guys, making sure they’re prepared to play hockey and play it with a lot of passion and focus.” It’s Pontiac passion that helped drive the boys to a season best last year, says Draper and what they’ll be using to kick-off this season with a bang. “We focused on passion and emotion, not so much concerned about what Lloyd is going to do.”
With a high number of rookies on the squad, ten of the 15 likely to skate Friday, Draper says the team isn’t concerned by a lack-of experience playing at the Jr A level, “they’re quite dynamic.” Draper says, the team suffered a slight set back with a pair of losses to Whitecourt to end out the exhibition season, but are determined to put that behind them and skate fresh on Friday. “It takes some time to get the young guys climatized to the Jr A level of hockey, moving from Midget AAA.” Draper says he wants to be clear, the rookies are fantastic players, “don’t get me wrong, these guys have lots of skill and play the game very, very well.”
In the pre-season, the Pontiacs won-one-lost-one against the Bobcats, says Draper, “they got a good squad, can’t deny that. With that being said, we should be very competitive with them.” Draper predicts the Yaks style this year to be, “high-tempo-high-skilled.”
“We’re looking forward to our season,” exclaims Draper. The home opener is Friday at 7:30 at the RJ Lalonde arena.