After 21 seasons behind the bench, this season as general manager and head coach has been the most remarkable and rewarding year in which I have ever taken part.
The Golden Rockets had finished last in the tough Eddie Mountain division the last three consecutive seasons and had won only three games during the 2017/18 campaign. Taking over the Rockets was a challenge that the organization and I were thrilled to tackle.
My first step was creating a list of action items that needed to be addressed. While the list was substantial, at the top was finding players with both the requisite ability – and, even more importantly, character – to be a part of the biggest turnaround in Junior B hockey history. My dad always preached, “surround yourself with good people.” Talent would not be enough. We needed to find players that had the courage and mental toughness to grind through the process that was going to take place throughout the season.
I believe it is a fair statement to say we accomplished our goal. When the dust had settled, our team, comprised of 20 rookies and three veterans, has qualified for playoffs. The development of our players both on and off the ice has been immeasurable. My dad’s advice worked.
While our on-ice development has been favourable, with many of our players being offered opportunities at higher levels next season as well as growing their respective games, another tremendous source of pride for our organization is our players’ involvement within our community of Golden. We have seen them mature through volunteering in many capacities throughout the year, learning indelible life lessons while adding valuable experiences to help increase their future educational and employment opportunities.
The playoffs are another opportunity for our team to continue to develop and shape our identity for years to come. All we ask of our players is to lay it all out there each and every shift to “empty the tank,” and we’ll let the chips fall where they may. I know that our group will continue to play to our identity of being the hardest working team in the KIJHL.
This season our loud and proud home crowds have been fantastic. Please continue to support us during the most exceptional time of the season, the playoffs. Let’s pack the plywood palace this weekend like it’s never been packed before and cheer on these fine young men! Golden, thank you for all of your support.
Head coach and general manager