Young Briercrest hockey team looks to develop with passion and hard work
By: Jadon Frank
There have been many changes in the Briercrest Hockey team over the summer, the most noticeable is the change behind the bench. Dalton Stoltz took the helm of the young hockey team in mid-August and has worked with his new Assistant coaches, Thomas Koshman and Nathan Wiebe, to build a vision for the young team.
Stoltz describes the theme for the team this season as, “‘Exceeding Expectations.’ We want to do this in every part of our lives; on the ice, in the classroom, in the dorms. Everywhere we go!”
On a very young team, only seven returning players and only two of which are in their 4th or 5th year, the veterans will be counted on for leadership this year. Coach Stoltz says, “I am looking to Jesse (Chenard) to be solid in net. He is our only 5th year.” Chenard is a great place to start when looking for a leader on this young team as he currently sits 5th all-time in the ACAC for saves in a career with 2575 regular season saves from 2008-2012.
Stoltz is also looking to veterans Josh Dufresne, Adam Voth, Manny Schellenberg, and Luke Robitaille (the only 4th year) to be key leaders on the team. Stoltz continues, “I expect these guys to lead the team with Hard Work and discipline.”
With such a young team there are many new, young players who will not only be very important to the team this year, but for years to come. Morgan McNeill, Branden Whitehawk, Jordaan Braun, and Pierre Landry are four such players that Coach Stoltz has indicated he is expecting “to learn what the college game is like and to develop into solid players.”
Stoltz described the team as a “lunch pail gang” that will “work hard and have fun.” He continued, “We care about our work. We will be defensive minded and be scrappy. We’re small, and young, but we work hard!”
When asked what makes him excited for this coming season Stoltz said that the first thing that comes to mind is “the development of our team. We are really young, and only have one graduating player. I think we have the potential to develop as a team.” Team captain Josh Dufresne agreed with Stoltz saying, “what excites me is the youth that the team has, and the passion to play and buy-into the system that Coach Stoltz has brought in. The Excitement that the players have.”
After the pre-season ended Coach Stoltz was asked what he had observed about the team leading up to the ACAC regular season. He said, “The team is making progress, the defensive zone is getting stronger, and we are starting to get better at special teams.”
Briercrest started the ACAC regular season against the always tough SAIT Trojans in Calgary October 12-13 and this coming weekend, October 19-20, will host the 2011-12 ACAC silver medalist NAIT Ooks in Caronport. Six of eight ACAC hockey teams qualify for the playoffs, and there will be a real fight for the last couple of spots as Briercrest looks to qualify for the first time since 2008-09 season. When asked for key sections of the schedule Stoltz looked to these important rivalry games against Portage (Nov 2-3 and Jan 25-26), Keyano (Oct 26-27 and Jan 18-19), Concordia (Nov 9-10 and Feb 1-2), and Grant MacEwen (Nov 23-24 and Feb 15-16).