The Ice For Kids Arena may have a sheen of rust on it when the Muskie boys' hockey team opens its NorWOSSA regular season this Tuesday night (Nov. 14) against the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints.
That's because the team hasn't played a game since winning the 'B'-side title at a tournament in Winnipeg back on Oct. 19-22.
“I'm sure the long layoff will have an impact on our game,” head coach Jordan Sinclair admitted in an e-mailed response to the Times earlier this week.
“I am expecting that," he added. "It is a while to have off between games so I'm sure there will be some rust to shake off and [we] probably won't be a crisp as we may typically be.”
Sinclair also said the team is just getting players back now from volleyball.
“I don't believe we have had a practice this year so far with our entire team, so I'm sure that will be a factor also,” he remarked.
“This isn't an excuse," Sinclair stressed. "It's just the way it is so we have to dig in and get 'er going.”
Sinclair said the main focus during practice so far mostly has been system stuff.
“Getting all the guys on the same page, getting comfortable and familiar with the systems,” he explained.
“We want to be a team the plays with pace, get everyone involved in the attack, all five guys, and generate offence.”
This season's roster includes forwards Kendyn Faragher, Jon Busch, Cole Allan, Eric Pitkanen, James Gushulak, and Kaden Nelson (all Grade 12s), Brett Kenny and Jake Barker (Grade 11), and Mikel Ward, Cole Magill, Kaleb Bruyere, and Reed Bodnar (Grade 10).
On defence will be Byron Stewart and Dayton Labbe (Grade 12), Austin Armstrong and Jace Jackson (Grade 11), and Connor Nelson and Jacob Grinsell (Grade 10).
Spencer Murphy (Grade 11) and Darian Klem, the lone ninth-grader on the squad, are the goalies.
Sinclair noted the main goal from Day 1 is the same as it always is: to win another OFSAA gold medal.
“Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done and a long ways to go to get there," he conceded. ”But that is the ultimate goal.
“We [want to] be a team that works hard and gets better every day,” Sinclair said.
"We want to establish ourselves in the league again, and obviously win the league again and give ourselves that opportunity at another [OFSAA] medal.
“Our journey begins Tuesday and we [want to] have a good one,” he concluded.
The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
The Muskie girls' hockey team also will open NorWOSSA regular-season play this Tuesday against the Saints.
That game gets underway at 7:30 p.m. in the '52 Canadians Arena.