The rebuild for the Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals began before the season was officially finished, according to general manager Lou Gravel.
The Generals had two players, Josh Harvey and Jarrett Weme, commit before the final game was played last weekend. It’s something that Gravel is looking to change, among other things, looking ahead to next season.
“We’re really excited about the youth heading forward here. The affiliate players who came up after the winter break gave a lot of players on this team a shot in the arm, same with our local affiliates too,” Gravel said of the younger players.
Gravel will have a chance to put his finger prints on this team in terms of spending an off–season as the general manager for the Generals, instead of coming in half way through the season and trying to patch things up.
“It’s tough because you can’t really fix anything at that point in a season. A lot of times you’re looking to acquire players and can’t do it because you aren’t going to really get what you’re looking for,” Gravel said. “This team was in a bad situation when I came on but it was just trying to do whatever you could. We won’t be waiting to see what the Junior A teams are doing, we’re going to start putting our team together right away. We’re going to be proactive, not reactive.”
The Generals went through four head coaches this season and the team struggled from the start. It’s something that the players had trouble adjusting to but hope won’t be a problem next season.
“It was tough, for sure,” Daine Elphicke. “Having that many changes in a season really takes a toll on a team. You can’t get the ball rolling in terms of building chemistry because one minute you’re trying to do one thing and then there’s a new face behind the bench and we’re trying to do something else.”
One of the biggest questions for the Generals this off-season is their head coaching position, which is currently held by Bill Bestwick. Bestwick came in with a month to go in the season and is unsure of his future with the team. Gravel knows there could potentially be another change at the head coaching position but will hold off until Bestwick has made his decision.
“We have someone in mind who would be a good fit for us if Bill wasn’t going to return. The head coaching job is Bill’s until he let’s us know if he doesn’t want to be here anymore. If we get to have him back, I think it would do great things for the players on this team next season. But we will be prepared if he doesn’t return as well,” said Gravel.
The Generals will hold their Prospect Camp May 2-4 with plenty of fresh faces looking to crack the lineup for a team who finished dead last in the VIJHL with just 19 points on the season.