Thursday, 20 September 2012
Hurricanes Open Season Friday vs. Medicine Hat
It's the first time the Hurricanes will open a season at home in four years. The expectations for this season are high and when I say that I mean making the playoffs. This will clearly be the goal for the Hurricaanes after not making the post-season the last 3 seasons. It's actually critical, both on and off the ice for the organization as a whole. This is a long drought coaches, players, local media and fans want to see come to an end.
Lethbridge begins the season with it's most experienced line-up in four seasons. Unlike last year when nearly half the team was rookies, that's not anywhere the case this time around. Yes, the Canes are still a young team, but I think more experienced, talented, and loaded with speed. This year's rookies to start the season include Reid Duke, Ryan Pilon, Tyler Wong, Remi Laurencelle, Axel Blomqvist, Lenny Hackman, Connor Sutton, Joel Topping, and goalie Christpoher Tai. I think a few of these newcomers are going to be extremely fun to watch.
Up front, the Hurricanes bring back Sam McKechnie, Russ Maxwell, Jaimen Yakubowski, Graham Hood, Jay Merkley, Craig Leverton, Brady Ramsay, Michael Sofillas, Harrison Harper and Jamal Watson. 6 of these players were rookies last season. I'm expecting and hoping for big things from Merkley this season especially.
On the backend, the Hurricanes are fairly experienced, lead by returning players Dan Johnston, Macoy Erkamps, Spencer Galbraith, and Albin Blomqvist. The rookies on the blueline, Joel Topping, Connor Sutton, and Ryan Pilon should complement those veterans well. The majority of these players will be with the Hurricanes for the next few seasons, which bodes well for building chemistry and continuity for an organization which has been lacking that the past few seasons with several player movements. Johnston, though will miss the Hurricanes first few games with an upper-body injury.
It all gets going Friday at 7:00 pm (MDT) with the Hurricanes Dairy Queen Home Opener. The puck will drops shortly after the top of the hour after some pre-game festivities. Fred Jack and I will have the Minute Muffler Pre-Game show on 94.1, CJOC at 6:30.