With approximately 10 seconds left in the second period the latch was lifted on the bench door and it swung open.
Players started filing out of the bench towards the locker rooms at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. I heard one player say “f*** boys” as they pushed the arena doors open in frustration. Then the buzzer went to end the second period. The score was 6-0 for the Western Hurricanes over the Scotsburn Major Bantam Crushers. The game would finish with the Crushers losing 9-0.
The frustration was evident on the ice during the game, but the players leaving the bench in that way showed me how much it was really getting to them. I can guarantee there is just general frustration surrounding the entire team on trying to turn the corner and to start seeing positive results.
As Kyle MacLennan, the assistant coach for the Scotsburn squad, said on Sunday, “It’s tough to come to the rink every day knowing that if you put your best effort in you don’t know what the result is going to be.”
I completely agree with Kyle. It’s tough for the team to remain motivated throughout the game when they allow a goal or two because there doesn’t seem to be the confidence that they can come back. That said they showed they could on Sept. 28 in their 3-3 tie with the Harbour Storm.
The coaching stuff likely dread seeing me because they don’t want any negative press to make matters worse as they try to turn the corner as a group. To be clear that isn’t my goal, but I’m not just going to show up on the days you win and forget the days you lose. That isn’t how this works, contrary to thoughts by some.
When talking to coaches they try to discuss the things that the team needs to work on or address without being completely negative. They know there is no set answer on how to change the mindsets of their players because that’s something only the players can do. I will say although they may be becoming frustrated they are trying to leave that out of the room and be as positive with the players when they’re in front of them, which has to be tough when they lose 9-0 (regardless of where the Hurricanes can draw players from or any other factors).
Just from general conversations and interviews with coaches they believe the mindsets tend to be the biggest things they need to come. As Kyle said in the story on Sunday, he believes the team’s understanding of systems and the general aspects of the game have come a long way.
Translating that to a game seems to be the issue. Feeling deflated seems to be one of the causes of this.
In the opening minutes of every game the team seems to be pumped up and everyone is moving their feet with no issue, but once a goal or two is scored they stop focusing on the things that will make them successful. They lose that tenacity you see early on.
Yes, they’re playing against some teams that draw from a much larger base of players, but for instance I think a 3-0 loss to the Western Hurricanes is a win for a program that is trying to rebound from some bad years. Eventually that could turn into a win.
To be a member of the coaching staff with a group like this you need to have to genuine care for the players and I believe they have that right now. Having a passion to help the players develop and hopefully improve, both individually and as a whole, is important to those kinds of coaches.
Jeff Green was handed the reins as the head coach this season after spending the last number of years with the Weeks Junior A Crushers organization. The season they’re going for a championship he applied for and took this opportunity because he cares about helping give these young men a strong foundation for a future in the game. Kyle is the same way, as well as other members of the coaching staff.
It is obviously a very sensitive topic for parents and those who surround this team and the Weeks Major Midgets squad when discussing players and the struggles on the ice. The players, coaches, parents and myself included all hope the frustration in game and post-game comes to an end sooner rather than later for these teams, but for the time being it will take some bearing down and digging deep to overcome the struggles they have been facing recently.
Christopher Cameron is the sports reporter for The News and can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NGNewsChris. His column runs weekly on Wednesdays.