Posted on October 11, 2011 by Jadene Mah

ACAC – Five questions and 30 Seconds with ACAC Hockey Head Coaches. We posed five simple to ask, perhaps hard to answer, questions pertaining to the upcoming Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s hockey season. The coaches responding included: Augustana Vikings, Blaine Gusdal ; Concordia Thunder, Daniel Peacocke; Grant MacEwan Griffins, Jamie Langley; Mount Royal University …

ACAC – Five questions and 30 Seconds with ACAC Hockey Head Coaches.

We posed five simple to ask, perhaps hard to answer, questions pertaining to the upcoming Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s hockey season.

The coaches responding included: Augustana Vikings, Blaine Gusdal ; Concordia Thunder, Daniel Peacocke; Grant MacEwan Griffins, Jamie Langley; Mount Royal University Cougars, Jean LaForest; NAIT Ooks, Serge Lajoie; Portage Voyageurs, Terry Ewasiuk and SAIT Trojans , Ken Babey.

1: What is your coaching philosophy in a nutshell and does that change from team to team depending on skill set?

AV We expect to be an intense, hardworking team that plays a very disciplined up-tempo game. We will need to be stronger defensively this year if we want to move up in the standings.

CT: Equal balance between competence and character. Sustained Pressure. Speed is created through great puck movement.

GMG We have built a Team of CHARACTER –– LEADERSHIP and. ACCOUNTABILITY. Players who play with: HEART – ATTITUDE – RESPECT – and DETERMINATION. Players that have an exceptional work ethic = WE NEVER QUIT We want “GOOD” people associated with our program, players who identify with these strong personality traits. We need capable “student – athletes” that can compete in the University classroom. They don’t need to be perfect but they have to be able to put in the honest effort required and grow into the students they need to be. We have a strong Team identity, with a positive and respectful team culture, our style of play identifies all these qualities. This is a constant belief that doesn’t change.

MRC: At MRU the emphasis is total development of the student-athlete. We want to build championship teams but the process by which this is achieved is the driving force of our success. It is our goal that by the time a student-athlete graduates from MRU they have experienced growth as a student, as individuals and as athletes who are prepared to succeed and contribute to the communities they choose to live and work in. Our template with respect to our philosophy is constant. In that manner we have built a culture whereby expectations, goals and operations remain constant.

NAO Create an athlete-centered environment built on the values of respect, integrity, industriousness, enthusiasm and honesty where success is not only measured in wins and losses, but also by the personal growth each player has experienced throughout his career as an Ook. It is about trusting in the process, accepting challenges, overcoming adversity and becoming the best athlete and person you can possibly become. This foundation does not change from team to team. We focus on the process and the outcome will take care of itself.

PV: No my coaching philosophy doesn’t change. In my case with a young organization our team skill set just needs to improve every year. My number one priority has always been the player’s education.

SAIT Develop a team that wins on the ice and in the classroom.


2: What are the strengths of your team this year? Any particular player or line to mention?

AV We return an abundance of scoring from last year’s team with the line of Torrie Dyck, Scott Aucoin, and Dan Hope all back as a unit, plus the addition of Mathew Foster from Portage College should add some offense. Second year d-men Brad Bourke and Harrison Tribble will continue to lead the backend with their added experience and responsibilities

CT: Very enthusiastic group, with very positive team chemistry developing early.

GMG We are a close team with an Exceptional work Ethic. We never quit, we stick together and we work HARD

MRC: This year we have matched our talent depth from our championship roster of 2011-12. Our strength lies in our ability to play in at a consistent level and style across our roster

NAO Depth at defence. Shannon Sazbados has transferred from MacEwan.

PV: For the first time in the four year existence of the Voyageurs I have been able to recruit all Junior A players. This will improve our skill set immensely, give us depth at every position and make us more competitive.

SAIT: Speed, size and physicality. No, the team comes first.

3: Are there any new rookies or surprise players that made the team this year you would like to comment about?

AV We’re excited about all our additions and their contributions through the exhibition portion of our schedule. In addition to Mathew Foster, Brendan Lamb and Darryl Gagnon have transferred to U of A – Augustana and have added a lot of experience and leadership. Defencemen Brenden Stephen and Tanner Korchinski have proven they will be regulars on our blueline, while Joel Danyluk has been a welcome addition in goal. New first-year forwards Adam Johnson, Kenny Bradley, and Dane Bonish have all fit in well with their roles and should prove to be valuable additions to our line-up.

CT Filiph Bystrom, from Sweden, is highly skilled as expected, but also plays with a lot of grit and intensity

GMG All our returning players are there for a reason. They all have important roles and each has something to add as we continue to grow the program.
Team Captain; Chris BOYLE is an experienced player, a Former AJHLer, with the Brooks BANDITS, he has played in the CIS and previously in the ACAC, He will be counted on to help establish a level of play and to help our young team adjust to the competitive level of play in the ACAC.
Assistant Captains; Adam STEPHEN; former captain of the Canmore EAGLES (AJHL). Kevin TOMALTY, of the Dryden ICEDOGS (SIJHL) and Jared CROOKS of the Vermilion TIGERS (NEAJBHL) all have extensive experience, leadership, and playing ability to help assist with establishing our Identity on the ice and helping the new players compete in the ACAC.

We have a higher number of new players to returning players, and we are quite a bit younger than we have been in 3 years. There is a lot of youthful energy. Our biggest strength is our Team; however we have added some key players in all positions.
Top Goaltender: Travis ROLHEISER, Spent last season with the York University LIONS, (CIS) 10/11, AJHL (North) All-star, 08/09, AJHL Best Goaltender 09/10, AJHL Champion 09/10, AJHL Top Team Goaltending Award 09/10.
Defense: Darren TARASOFF – Castlegar REBELS (KIJHL), Top Defenseman Award, 10/11. Chad EKDAHL – University of Windsor (CIS)
Both will add size and some offense off the blueline.
Forwards: Dan STAROSTA – Sherwood Park CRUSADERS (AJHL) 10/11, David CARR – Potsdam University, NCAA D-3. 10/11 and t. Albert STEEL (AJHL), 09/10
Both will add more character and scoring to our offensive units.

MRC: We have 13 new recruits this season. A young team with a great deal of potential.

PV: Although he is hurt (low ankle strain) and been out of the line-up for five weeks Richard Cameron (Notre Dame Hounds – SJHL) has been a very big surprise. He plays a gritty game and his skating ability is second to none.

NAO Many strong players entering the program: Steele Boomer, Josh Koper, Jesse Slobodian, Michael Westfall to mention but a few.

SAIT: No surprises.

4: Who do you consider the top two contenders for the ACAC men’s hockey title?

AV Last year’s 2 finalists, the MRU Cougars and Sait Trojans are the teams to beat if you want to contend in ACAC Men’s Hockey

CT: Mount Royal is probably number one, with SAIT, Augustana and NAIT very close behind. So not much different than last year

GMG It’s too early to start predicting top contenders. Having played 5 of our competitors in preseason, if teams don’t play their best, regardless of who their opponents are, there could be some upsets. It looks like it could be a tight league this year with any team challenging for the two top spots.

MRC: NAIT and Augustana

NAO MRU + Augustana.

PV: Mount Royal Cougars and Sait Trojans

SAIT: “It is a very competitive league with a great amount of parity.
5: Key players lost from last year’s team?

CT Kyle MacDonald, Mackenzie Groenewegen.

GMG We lost our 3 year Captain; Tyler Hennessey to Graduation, and 2 Time MVP; Shannon SZABADOS to Nait. They are great people and respected teammates who made outstanding contributions to our Hockey Program. Tyler set a new Team record of playing 99 Games over 5 seasons. Shannon was our MVP and Heart and Soul of the Team

MRC: Key players not returning are Barry Horman, Joe Vetere, Jesse Perrin, Jesse Griffith, Coleton Thielmann and Brett Bothwell

NAO Adam Ferrante, Kyle Teague, Dion Darling

PV: Forwards: Matt Foster, Chris Glen, Brendan Lamb. Defensemen: Shawn Shackleton, ,Kirk Moore and Codie Kightley.

SAIT: “15 players graduated

6: All coaches were thrown in an additional sixth question….simply asked “Any additional comments?”

Voyageurs Terry Ewasiuk was the only coach who really took the nibble with just a few word response.

“I believe that the ACAC is as strong this year as it’s ever been. Augustana continues in their quest to become a top four team. Nait has made some major strides to becoming the type of power-house they once were. MacEwan has had an excellent pre-season and has improved tremendously.

Although I feel we’re a better team the ACAC league as a whole is much better. So will we make any ground in the regular season standings; time will tell?

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