Saturday , 4 July 2020

In Rick We Trust

Head Coach of the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs has a vision he’d like you to see

The Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs are building something special, says Head Coach Rick Swan, you just have to believe. Looking from the outside and watching trades like team top scorers, PJ Morracco and Derek Brown, then watching the club move starting goaltender Sandro Silvestre, some might not be able to see the long-term vision Coach Swan and the brass have for the club; they just have to believe.

Swan serves as General Manager for the organization is invested in the long-term success of the club, “as an operator I think we would be doing a disservice if we didn’t at least entertain the idea of trades.” Speaking of the Brown move, Coach Swan says he is looking after his team and the overall growth of the players, “the teams that were very interested in Derek (Brown) and what Derek would have brought to a team was an opportunity to take that next step and go over the top.” Brown ended up getting move at the trade deadline to the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL in exchange for D man Sol Seibel and future considerations.

“We had a plan from the very start and we were intentional to our plan. We have an opportunity to take our franchise to a place that we’ve never been before,” to get there the team will have to make some big plays, explains Coach Swan, “there will be short-term pain for long-term gains.” There will be a lot of benchmarks the organization will have to hit, says the coach, “we will have to explore the best opportunities, by listening to other teams that have interest in our top players.” PJ Morracco was the first of such moves. A fan favourite, Morracco was the top scorer for the Alberta Junior Hockey League when he was traded to the Chilliwack Chiefs in exchange for ’98 D Luke Albert and future considerations.

The moves, as the coach explains, “puts our young guys in a position to get experience that they would have never gotten, at the Jr. A level, as first year guys. They would never have gotten the ice time or the special teams time, that we’re able to provide them for immediate experience. It’s a tremendous thing for their development, to be at their best in March.” It’s not only their performance in March, these players will be better developed and stronger come next season and beyond. “They will be more experienced, here in Bonnyville, than if we had to try to build or bring in a winner from elsewhere.”

We invested in them and they flourished with the program. – Rick Swan on Derek Brown & PJ Morracco.

The Pontiacs also moved netminder, Sandro Silvestre to Gatineau Quebec for future considerations. “We also obtained a goaltender from Boston, Dario Latessa.” Swan says Justin Travis will move up to the starting postion, while 19-year-old Latessa settles into the team as backup goaltender.

“We are stronger as a team, because the trade deadline is behind us. We know that this is our group for the end of the year and they don’t have to worry about the dynamics of junior hockey and the potential of being moved. They know they are going to be here and can focus on the rest of the year.” Fans have already seen a more confident team, on Friday the club showed the home crowd what they were made of with a big 4-0 shutout win, against Whitecourt.

We can say, with great confidence, that not only are we going to be in a great position for next year, we’re going to be a special team. – Rick Swan Head Coach Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs.

The team will be on the road on Wednesday in Spruce Grove, then back home Friday and Saturday against Camrose & Brooks. Game time is 7:30 pm for both matches at the RJ Lalonde Arena. Catch exclusive player and coach interviews on Lakeland Connect’s Facebook Page, thank to lake City Coach, Rapid Response Energy Services and Ducharme Motors.

About Jena Colbourne