With the pre-season wrapped up, the Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals are turning their attention to opening night against the Storm on Sept. 11 in Campbell River.
With a few players returning to the team after time at Junior A training camps — and some still away — the Gens’ roster is starting to take shape ahead of the 2015-16 season.
While there are still a few roster moves to be made, head coach Brad Knight feels good about what he’s seen so far.
“It’s looking good, really good,” Knight said. “We’ve still got some guys away at Junior A camps and we’re wishing them the best.”
“It makes the roster still unsettled but we’re looking to start working with a smaller group, looking at about 26 players. Then with returning players, or not returning, we’ll have a more concrete roster.”
The Generals finished their pre-season with two wins and two losses, giving coach Knight enough of an idea who would make the cut and who would be going home. At practice on Tuesday night, the Generals had a few more cuts to make.
“I thought we played well against Nanaimo,” Knight said. “The Campbell River game was just an ethical disappointment all around and that’s all I’m going to say regarding that.”
“I thought the game against Westshore; they came in and just outworked us. They had some timely goals and I don’t think we played well. I think some guys played their way off the team, which made making those decisions easier but in the same breath, there were some players that played their way onto the team as well.”
It’s been a welcome addition of Knight to the team, giving a breath of fresh air to the returning players from last season that are excited to have a coach like Knight behind the bench. For Knight, it’s all part of the job and he knows what the end result needs to be.
“At the end of the day I’m here to coach them,” Knight said. “I’m not here to be their friend or their buddy.”
“Having coached for 20 years, I have a method that I like to systematically work through over the season. Winning makes everything easier, you don’t play hockey (at this level) to lose. Winning is fun, it solves everything.”
“When you have a good game and don’t win, it means nothing without getting that win,” Knight said.
“It’s all about competition and if we’ve got the right guys, we’ll win. If we don’t, we’ll find the right guys that can win.”
After opening their season on the road in Campbell River, the Generals return home on Saturday, September 12 for their home opener against the Nanaimo Buccaneers.
Puck drop is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Oceanside Place and you can also catch the game on 88.5 The Beach with Dominic Abassi.