SAIT’s men’s hockey team, the Trojans look for redemption this season, starting with their annual Eye Opener Tournament.
The Eye Opener Tournament was a chance for the coaching staff to work out any rust the team may have, and look at first-year players trying out for the team.
After the Trojans were eliminated last year, in the quarterfinals of the ACAC men’s hockey playoffs, head coach Dan Olsen said he was optimistic for different results this season.
“There’s a lot more team chemistry this year,” Olsen said.
“With the chemistry, there will be less unselfish play and it’ll make us successful.”
The Trojans went 1-1 in the exhibition tournament, falling to the Lacombe Generals 6-3.
They bounced back with a 5-1 victory over the Innisfail Eagles.
Both the Generals and the Eagles came from the Chinook Hockey League (ChHL), while Edmonton’s Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) the Ooks, a familiar foe, also took part in the tournament.
Olsen was pleased with the two games the Trojans played, as their overall speed was showcased.
Against the Eagles, they were first to the puck.
“We’re going to be a very fast team,” Olsen said.
“There are a lot of quick teams in the ACAC (Alberta Collegiate Athletic Conference). Having that speed as a team will help us in a lot of games.”
Though Olsen was satisfied with how the team faired in the exhibition tournament, there were areas in their game that he would like to improve, specifically with their special teams.
“Our power play needs a bit of work,” said Olsen.
“We have two systems and only used one of them,” he said.
“It’s a matter of puck support, keeping the puck moving and having two passing options for the puck carrier.”
After the team’s second and final exhibition game, Olsen admitted that he and the coaching staff would come together to see what they wanted the team to look like heading into the regular season.
“We seem to be shaping up pretty well,” Olsen said.
“We have our defence and goaltending set, but we have a few spots open up front with our forwards.”
Despite having to decide which first-year players make the cut, Olsen said some would stick around to start the season, as injuries often leave opportunities for the new players to step in and make an impact.
“We have some tough decisions to make, but there is no rush,” Olsen said.
As the Trojans gear up for another year, expectations are high for this team that for so many years was the model example of consistency and winning.
There’s a lot more team chemistry this year – Dan Olsen, Trojans men’s hockey head coach
From the players to the coaching staff, the team believes it can get back to the top and bring back another championship to make up for last season’s finish.
“Every year your goal should be winning,” Olsen said.
“We have a great shot this year and there’s no reason why we can’t do it.”
Sweet Victory: SAIT’s men’s hockey team the Trojans, congratulate and celebrate with goaltender Bolton Pouliot after they skated away with a victory over the Innisfail Eagles during the exhibition game part of the annual Eye Opener Tournament at SAIT Arena in Calgary on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. With the tournament ending, the Trojans now look forward to the start of the regular season in a quest to bounce back after a disappointing end to last season. (Photo by Alex Medina/The Press)