“Our D is done. We’re very happy with the depth of our defence, now we just have to bring a little bit more oomph up front.”
This week’s announcement from the Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals’ GM Lou Gravel that the local VIJHL club welcomes another two new players, brings the running tally to eight — five of those blueliners.
For one of them it will be trial by fire this weekend as he takes to the ice looking to help his new team, which has one win in their last 11 games.
The 2-15-1 Generals are down Island Friday to tangle with the 7-7-2 Peninsula Panthers, and return home to face their arch rivals the 14-2 Nanaimo Buccaneers in Parksville Saturday (7:30 p.m. puck drop).
On Tuesday the Generals signed Campbell River D-man Tristan DeSwardt, in a deal that sent forward Dom Kolbeins to the KIJHL Sicamous Eagles. DeSwardt will not be in the lineup (upper body injury), but big power forward Gregory Johnson, 18, a 6’’2’, 215 lb left wing, left shot from Alaska due to arrive in town today, will be.
A late cut of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, “he’s a big tough kid. He plays physical, he’s got some experience in the WHL and the AHL, and he brings us some respectability up from physically,” said Gravel.
In other news, forward Ethan Larson was traded for futures to the KIJHL Princeton Posse as part of a three way deal with Campbell River.
In the meantime, through it all, the Generals’ homegrown captain, Travis Flug, 19, has kept his foot on the gas. Leading the hometown squad by example every game and on course for a career year offensively with a team-leading seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points in 18 games.
So is there more jump in his step now that all the reinforcements are rolling in?
“Definitely — having more guys out there, it creates a bigger family,” Flug said after last Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the Saanich Braves. “We have to work every single week to make the lineup. I mean that’s really important, everyone’s given ‘er in practice because they wanna crack that lineup for the weekend, and without that you don’t have that same effort, so I think it’s going to be good having these guys here and looking forward to the rest of the season.
“It’s definitely going to feel good to get the ball rolling here,” he said easily when asked about the win drought, “but I mean the new coaching staff, the new faces, it’s hard, but it’s going to come, we’re getting the losses over with.”
“I’m having fun,” he said when asked if he’s still enjoying coming to the rink.
“We’ve got a good group of guys here and I mean playing with 16-year-old Brodie Smith there, we’ve been good friends for a long time and it’s great, he’s kind of making us (better on offence).”
The 5’11” 215 pounder said the mood in the dressing room “is good. We gotta definitely stay positive here, I mean in a league where basically every team makes the playoffs, we just have to get a few wins and we’ll be right back in it.”