Gens ease into pre-season with training camp

The Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals held their training camp, with 40 hopefuls taking to the ice over three days.

Pre-season hockey starts for the Gens this Friday in Nanaimo against the Buccaneers.

The Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals held their training camp ahead of the 2015/16 VIJHL regular season, with 40 hopefuls taking to the ice over three days.

Head coach Brad Knight put the players through the paces, checking their level of conditioning and how they’d react through drills.

In total, there were five practices and two games, with the first four practices split between two groups of players and then a final practice after exit interviews.

“I thought it went really well,” Knight said. “I was very impressed with the leadership that the older players showed throughout the weekend. They really stepped it up when it came to leading the way during drills and setting the pace, so that was a big positive to take away from the weekend.”

Knight will be the fourth coach behind the bench in the last year after spending time with the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL as both head coach and general manager in 2014.

“I’m excited to be here,” he said. “I love the game of hockey and I’ve met lots of great people in the Parksville area over the years. There’s a great group of fans that support this team and great community support as well. I like a challenge and anytime you can take over a team that’s struggling, there’s a bit of work to do but I enjoy that.”

Having been the first official hire by general manager Rob Gaudreault, both have gone to work building a team they hope will produce wins.

“It’s been nice working with Rob,” Knight said. “He’s one of the bigger reasons I came here. He was caught in a tough position last year and things didn’t turn out the way he wished they would have. We’ve made some good moves, Rob’s done a great job putting together a good roster here and we’re looking forward to really getting it going.”

The Gens made a few acquisitions recently, bringing back Jonah Pearson and Wyatt Meiers. Both started last season with the team before being traded to the Nanaimo Buccaneers. The Gens also added 17-year-old forward Ethan Sundstrum from the Comox Valley Glacier Kings and Jerry Bickerton, a former player under Knight, will join as an associate coach.

“Jerry knows what I’m all about,” Knight said. “He understands the culture that I want to bring to this team. We want to see a hard working group. You put in the work in practice and you’ll see the results come in games. Winning is never easy in life, no matter if it’s in sports, business, anything out there, it’s tough. We want to have a group together that’s going to put in the hard work to get that success.”

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