Swan: Game Day is Sacred

Pontiacs focus on preparation as they travel to Fort Mac today

“The last five days have been tremendously productive,” says Head Coach of the Bonnyville Pontiacs, Rick Swan. Last time the squad hit the ice, they weren’t prepared, explains the coach. The team fell 4-0 in the first period against the Spruce Grove Saints and had the battle the remaining 40 minutes to tie it up. The team would eventually lose that match, 5-4 to the Saints, but it was a great lesson and won’t happen tonight against the Oil Barons, assures Coach Swan.

“You can’t give any team four goals, at any point in the game, and then expect to come back and get the result that you want. It showed a lot of character (in the comeback), we don’t want to neglect the good, but it just goes to show you the choice that the player’s have in order to play the right way is all on them,” Coach Swan explains there’s a lesson in every loss. “It starts with our veterans, because they’ve been here before and they know the expectations. It really relied heavily on our guys wearing the letters, and they can’t let that happen. In the dressing room they need to make sure that they mentor our young guys in the right way.”

We are an organization that prides ourselves in making sure that we provide our players with everything that they need in order to create success. As coaches we can’t put skates on them and be able to do it for them. – Rick Swan Head Coach Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs

“We made sure that we used this as an opportunity to really improve our structure and make sure the guys are ready to play within a structure that we’re going to use, certainly against Fort McMurray.” The team had an unusual five days off of game play to focus on playing the full 60, says the coach, “we make sure there’s intention and purpose with our practices. If we are not doing anything [on the practice ice] that’s going to show up in a game, then we’re wasting our player’s time. That’s something that’s a coaching philosophy, that everything has an intention and a purpose that’ll help them perform better in the game.”

Coach Swan says game day is sacred in the Pontiac organization. “Preparation is everything, that’s something that player’s can control. At this level there’s really no excuse for players not to be prepared.” There’s certain rules in preparedness the team must follow, as well as particular routines that are beneficial to game play, with a healthy dose of hockey superstition in executing these routines. “It’s making sure we have the right amount of rest and pregame preparation, in terms of meals and getting there in time. At this level it’s all about the player, if they’re ready and where they need to be to play and ready to execute, then everything goes well.”

The Pontiacs travel to Fort McMurray to take on the Oil Barons tonight and then head to Camrose for Showcase weekend. The team won’t return back to the RJ Lalonde until October 7th, when the Drayton Valley Thunder are in town. WIN tickets to Pontiac home games on LCN!