Puck drop is approaching for the start of the Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals 2014–15.
This Wed., Aug. 27, the Generals host the Nanaimo Buccaneers to kick off exhibition play before the regular season starts Sept. 4, with the Gens and Bucs squaring off again, this time in Nanaimo.
It’s the first season for head coach Jason Johns behind the Generals bench as he looks to take a team that’s gone through a lot of changes, with a lot of new players vying for spots on the roster.
“Our training camp and practices we’ve been having have given us a good look at these guys,” he said.
“We’re pleased with some of the guys that I haven’t really been able to see much of, the guys coming in from out of town, and our locals have really stepped it up too. We’ve got a good crop of guys here.”
With a roster that won’t be finalized until at least the end of August, or into September, Johns and the Generals have a bit of time to see who’s going to fit in where and if there are going to be any returning players who didn’t make it through at the junior A level.
“We’ve got a few guys that we’re going to hang on to,” Johns said. “Of course, the objective of this league is to move guys up to the next level and we’re not going to hold anyone back for the sake of trying to make our team better in that aspect. We’ll see what happens when the dust settles but we like what we’ve got here going forward.”
The players report that training camp was enjoyable, with plenty of activities both on and off the ice, something a few of the returning Generals felt was quite similar to how the junior A camps were run in the spring.
“Yeah, it was run real well, I was surprised in a good way,” Carlos Grouchy said, who played last season with the Generals. “There are a lot of younger guys here that are hungry to play and want to show what they’ve got and the camaraderie that showed on and off the ice was a direct result, I think, of the way things were ran here.”
Since he was hired on as the head coach, Johns has been wanting to take more of an all–around approach to coaching the team, on and off the ice.
“We wanted to try and be similar to a junior A club and how they run things,” he said. “I think that creating that team aspect is important and weaving this team together, not only with each other but with the community, is a big part of that.”
Puck drop for Wednesday’s exhibition game, the only one at home, against the Buccaneers is at 7:30 at Oceanside Place.