With an extra month of training, limited exhibition play, and a unique team-building event, it's been a very different preparation by the Cannex Cochrane Generals for the 2023-24 season.
The season kicks off tonight (Sept. 22) in Didsbury against the Mountainview Colts. Saturday they head to Red Deer to take on the Vipers.
Head coach and general manager Kurtis Jones says their anxious to get the show on the road. He believes the team is ready to go.
Last weekend, they got away from the arena to take a high ropes course in the Bowden area, courtesy of their title sponsor Cannex Contracting.
"You do a bunch of team-building exercises and then we did this ropes course. You get a little bit out of your comfort zone, and there's a little fear involved. You've got to work together, so it was really interesting."
"Everybody got to bond and we had team meetings and got to know each other. We're looking pretty healthy and pretty strong, I think."
The Gens roster includes several new players, including Aussies Daniel and Morris O'Handley. They have two new goalies after cutting last year's duo of Jordan McGinnis and Kashton Payne. McGinnis has since joined the Colts and Payne is with the High River Flyers.
The new goalies are Isaias Maddigan and Braydon Yonin.
Limited to four overage players, they cut Evan Black and Joel Klassen. They kept Jordan Butz, Brandon Smith, Andrew Guss, and Tristan Ripplinger.
"It was a pretty hard decision," says Jones.
Sniper Tristan Ripplinger has been named the new captain, replacing Patrick Forde, who aged out at the end of last season. Alternate captains are Brendan Thubron, Jordan Butz, and James Quaife.
Jones says they haven't been too worried about scouting their opponents.
"I've changed my strategy this year, focused on our group right off the bat, and didn't worry about what everybody else is doing."
The Gens face some stiff competition right off the hop in their home opening weekend, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.
The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are in town on Sept. 30, followed by a Sunday late afternoon game against the Coaldale Copperheads.
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