The SAIT Trojans men’s hockey team is gearing up for the 2018 season after finishing third in the league and losing in semi-finals last year.
David Nippard, a fourth-year forward on the team, is ready to start competing, and to give his all this year.
“We [the team] are just really excited for the season to get under way and to really pick up where we left off last season.”
This season, the Trojans will have seven defencemen and a solid group of forwards returning to the team, as well as a small group of new recruits.
Trojan’s head coach Dan Olsen likes the way his team is looking this year.
“Our defence is solid, maybe one of the best defence cores in the league,” he said.
The rookie players are larger physically this year, but Olsen and Nippard said the new recruits still have big shoes to fill in terms of performance, as they replace the players who left
“[The players] are bigger and stronger, and I think that’s kind of what we were missing last year,” said Olsen.
Nippard said that Olsen wants a more physical game, with players going to the net more often.
Most of the new recruits are young forwards, who are joining the team from juniors, according to Nippard.
“They are going to be chomping at the bit,” said Nippard.
“I think they’re going to come in ready to make an impact on the game.”
Olsen said that one of the problems they ran into last year was playing against older, more experienced teams.
“I thought that we got pushed around a little bit,” he said.
Olsen has been pleasantly surprised by the new recruits so far.
“I think this year we are a little bit bigger, and you see a lot more grit and determination from our third and fourth lines.”
In a league that plays 28 games as season, you need third and fourth lines that are willing to do whatever it takes, said Olsen.
Nippard said that last year’s team had all the tools to win, but couldn’t bring everything together.
He thinks that the new recruits, with their size and style of play, are going to bring a physicality to the team that might have been missing before.
So far, the dynamic of the team this season has been great, said Nippard.
“I feel as if I’m ready for the season,” he said.
Nippard said he feels good and is injury free so far.
“I’m just going to try to bring what I have to the team, so that we can definitely take the right step forward to winning.”
As for the team, going into the new season is going to be different, but they all have the same goal: to win.
Our defence is solid – maybe one of the best defence cores in the league. – Dan Olsen
“They’re hungry to win a championship,” said Olsen.