It’s a Time to Reflect

Pontiacs season over following 4-1 Game 5 loss to Fort McMurray

“It’s the worst time of the year, there’s no question.” Head Coach of the Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs, Rick Swan spoke immediately following Friday’s Game 5 loss to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. The loss would send the Pontiacs home for the season, with a 1-4 series loss to Fort Mac. “It’s a time to reflect in a short period of time. It’s the last time that this group of men will be in the same dressing room together. That’s a difficult thing; because unlike anything else in life, really, these guys have to come to the rink and live to a high standard, within our organization.”

For eight months of the year, the players give everything they have to the club, says the coach. “You’re able to see leaders develop from young kid that leave home for the first time and they start to understand what they Bonnyville culture is all about. The second year they start to work and develop the younger players and by the third year these guys are contributing citizens to our community and our organization.”

Graduating this season includes; Captain Ryan Symington, Assistant Captains Ryan Piche, Erik Donald, Aldean Dupuis, and Gen Bryshun. As well as,Tyler Podgorenko and Derek Brown. Coach says these are perfect examples of the men the organization fosters, “it’s not only what you see on the ice, these guys play with passion, purpose and intention. They understand it’s a privilege to play in the organization and put on the jersey.”

“Ya, we’re out of the playoffs, but if you listen to each person address their teammates, there’s not a dry eye in that dressing room. That’s because of the passion for each other,” coach says it’s not because the team lost the game, “it’s because we can’t continue it on, together. These guys develop friendships and bonds that’ll last a lifetime.”

“I coach because I want to see these guys exceed the expectations they have for themselves and also see the character come out from young men to graduating players.” To the graduating players and the fans, parents and billets that supported them, Swan says, “I’m proud to be their coach.”

“We can go back and say a lot of things that could’ve, should’ve, would’ve… but right now, I hope you’re as proud of this group of men, as we are as coaches. There’s not a finer group of men, that contributed to the Bonnyville community, in all the years that I’ve been coaching. Believe me, their emotion and their care-factor for our fans, is second to none; I’m very proud of them.”