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.”