Puck drops on Generals pre-season vs Bucs
The puck has dropped and the Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals 2014–15 campaign has begun.
The Gens hosted the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Wednesday night (score not available at press time), and will play three more exhibition games, all on the road, before kicking off the regular season in Nanaimo against those same Buccaneers.
It seems like it’s been a long time since head coach Jason Johns was hired but the time has finally come and with the meaningful games approaching fast, he likes what he sees with his team.
“Things are coming together, lots of good competition and lots of guys working hard,” Johns said.
“We’ll see what these games bring for us ahead of the regular season but we’re hoping to see the same level of compete and work out of these guys we’ve seen so far.”
There have been several former Generals that haven’t been on the ice but were practising with the team up until they took off for their junior A camps. Last year’s forwards Brodie Smith, Carlos Grouchy, Logan Savard, Chase Gaudreault and Jonah Pearson are all heading to Junior A camps, along with defensemen Chandler Bruyckere, Wyatt Meiers and Mathieu Jallabert, who will be looking to take that next step in their careers.
“It’s a great thing to see, all those guys getting the chance to play at the next level,” Johns said.
“Of course, you’re happy for them because that’s what you want to see, players come through your system and then move along to the next level. Those guys all brought something different to this team last season and hopefully they can continue to have success at the next level.”
For the players coming in this season looking to make the team, having the chance to have practised with some of these players gives them a chance to learn a thing or two and gives them a positive sign that they too could have a shot if they work hard enough.
“You feel good coming back here and being able to take part in it, for sure,” Carlos Grouchy said.
“Not knowing where you’re going to play hockey in the future is always interesting but being able to be a part of something like this is always a good thing. It’s one giant family, the hockey community, and these guys are all trying to take it to the next level too.”
With three exhibition games left for the Generals, there’s still time before the start of the season that some of the players who attend Junior A camps could be back in the Generals lineup for the start of the regular season, but nothing is for certain.
“In a perfect situation, we don’t want these guys coming back,” Johns said.
“It’s a positive thing that they wouldn’t be coming back, meaning they were able to make their Junior A teams or progress past their camps to their exhibition games too.”
“It’s too early to tell who’s going to be where, so we’ll take a good look at what we’ve got and if we get to add a couple more pieces with guys returning, that’s a bonus for us.”