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Last updateTue, 20 Feb 2018 3pm

Coach Curran looking forward to rebuilding process

Curran Brian

    As soon as the season ends, so begins the preparations for the puck to drop come next fall.
    The Dragons wrapped up the season after being bumped out of the first round. Already their first spring training camp is coming up April 1-3 at Drumheller Memorial Arena. Coach and general manger Brian Curran is reflective on last season.
    “In a nutshell we went in a little different direction this year in so far as recruiting and went away from my norm of “get down, work hard, outwork teams, and having my roll players,” said Curran. “As the coach, the buck stops with me. I have analyzed it and we did not recruit as well as we thought we did.”
    “I am not saying that our players were bad, it was just the chemistry and the mixture wasn’t a team I was used to having. It was somewhat of an experiment, and we had extremely high hopes, but it didn’t work.”
    It was an eye-opening season for Curran.
    “Hands down this was the biggest learning year I have had since I have been a coach and those mistakes won’t be made again,” he said.
     He says they will have a much different hockey team on the ice next year and that starts with getting back to basics.
    “We have to make some changes, there is no question of that, getting back to the grassroots of who I am. I like the offensive guys. My scouting staff are all new now and we are going to be looking at those guys who compete hard, switch up in areas and work hard.”
    During the off-season, the Dragons will be hosting this upcoming camp April 1-3 in Drumheller and a second in Fort Saskatchewan on April 22-24.
    “We are going to have to look at a lot of kids because we have to fill a lot of spots with the right players,” he said.
    Coach Curran is looking forward to the building process and plans to hold on to some assets, but reshape the team.
    “What I am really looking forward to is that I am going to go against my own grain here,” he said.  “Because I love to teach, I am going to put a younger team on the ice, but a team that is going to be competitive because they are going to work harder. We will bring back several of the players from last year who I feel are going to be the right players to be around the team I am going to build.”
    “They have to have an extremely strong character, the right person on and off the ice, good at team unity,” he said, adding he wants to build a team with a reputation of working hard.
    “I’ve had teams where people say ‘when you play the Drumheller Dragons you are in for a battle every time.’ I didn’t hear that all that much this season, and that is what my teams have always been since I began to coach.”
    He is looking forward to building on a blank slate.
    “This is the first time in my career that I am really going to be building a team from the ground up.”


Dragons celebrate season at year end banquet

DSC 0379 jerseys front

    The Drumheller Dragons closed out the 2015-2016 season Friday evening (March 18) handing out the hardware at their annual awards banquet.
    The evening began with the Volunteer of the Year award presented by Jason Blanke. The award was presented to Mitchell Pennington who has been volunteering with the Dragons for a few years working at the season ticket holder table.
    Ava Harrington presented the second award of the evening. Harrington is a member of the Chinook Financial Junior Dragons fan club and presented the Chinook Financial junior Dragons Favourite Player award to goaltender Jonny Hogue.
    Next, Assistant Coach Gavin Holcomb presented the community involvement award to team captain Connor Duncan. Dave Wood presented the Academic Achievement award next, to Dragons forward Connor Boyd.
    Joe Faubion presented the Faubion Family Unsung Hero award to Dragons forward Braedan Salverda.
    Dragons head coach and general manager Brian Curran presented the next set of awards. Boyd received the Hardest Working Player. The Most Improved Player award went to Andrew Kartusch. The Rookie of the Year award went to Levi Wunder. The Top Defenseman award was presented to Isaac Schacher. The Top Scorer award went to Wunder. The Top Playoff Performer award was received by Salverda and the Most Valuable Player award went to Jacob Schofield.
    Marty Weymark presented the Jeff Hendricks Memorial Scholarship Award to Boyd.
    “It is such an honor to be chosen as the recipient of the Jeff Hendricks Memorial Scholarship,” Boyd told The Mail.
    “The award means a lot to me because it is for something that I have always prided myself on. I have always played with all my heart and putting everything I have into every shift, so to be honored with this award for doing just that, has left me very humbled.”
    Boyd, who had 11 goals, 12 assists for 23 points in 60 games, said he was “happy with the way my season went.”
    “I felt I was able to play at a high level all season long and into the playoffs. I enjoyed being a shutdown player that could be trusted against other teams top lines,” he said.
    “I was able to attain a lot of my success and confidence from my line mates Scott Ivey and Keaton Holinaty. I absolutely loved playing with the two of them and I think we had a chemistry that doesn’t come around too often,” he added.

Drumheller Dragons head into post season

dragons pic

    They are as ready as they will ever be this season as the Dragon begin the first round of playoffs this Thursday in Canmore.
    The team, plagued with late injuries, put together a strong finish to the regular season, stringing together five straight wins, and then a close overtime loss to Camrose Saturday night. Coach Brian Curran says anything can happen in the playoffs.
    “It should be a pretty even series, both teams have had good times and both have struggled at times,” he said.
    While there are still a few spots on their roster, which will remain empty, he likes how the team is playing.
    “We’ve lost two players who are pretty well done for the year, so that doesn’t help us at all, but we are so used to not having our full line-up, at the end of the day we have what we have, and in the last six games I like how we played.”
    Heading into the post season, he likes to keep routines and practices the same.
    “You want to work on specific things that might work best against the team. If we make the right decisions, we’re good, but if we make the wrong ones, we adjust,” he said. “Everything is about tweaking things.  You want to go in with the basic foundations you have had for most of the year so you don’t get the guys thinking too much. You want to keep it as normal as you can.”
    He does have some areas of focus.
    “We know we have to get better on our penalty kill, we think our power play is okay, but needs some work, so we are going to work on it all week. There is not much more than the coaches putting together the best match –ups and getting them ready to play.”
    “Playoffs have been notoriously about who are the teams that are hot going in, who is healthy, who is playing well, and then it comes down to who wants it the most,” said Curran.
    Games one and two are on Thursday and Friday night in Canmore. On Sunday, the Dragons will host the Eagles at 4 p.m.


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