The inaugural year of the U16AA Havoc may have been hampered by the pandemic, but the team is gearing up for the next season and has retained the core of its coaching staff from last season.
The Airdrie-Cochrane Athletic Association (ACAA) has announced manager Dean Chapman and head coach Dave Chamberlain are returning. Also back are assistant coaches Erik Tuff, Riley Fordyce, and goaltender coach Kurtis Chapman.
Chamberlain praises the skills being offered to the players by members of his coaching staff.
For the upcoming season, the team is looking forward to being able to have games and practices, even if there are still some restrictions in place.
"Hopefully, we'll have fewer restrictions," says head coach Chamberlain. "I'm not sure if we'll get enough vaccinations done or not, but I would think it will be a cohort system."
Despite the pandemic, the Havoc found ways to keep their players engaged.
They did hold practices and games at the beginning of the season. After restrictions tightened, they used Zoom calls to connect twice a week.
Players exchanged ideas, and several guest speakers and former players participated. For added fun, they played the occasional trivia game.
"To be honest, I think I learned more about the players during that than you do when you have them as a team."
He says the players also got to know each other better.
Like the AC Avalanche, players only play one season with the Havoc
"It's a good league for this age group," says Chamberlain. "The 15-year-olds get lost in the system at this age. They're not quite ready to play against 18-year-olds, so they end up on a low-tier midget team, or they might end up quitting. It's a good opportunity to keep more players in the game."
He's hoping they will be able to hold a similar evaluation camp as last year. It was held in conjunction with the AC Avalanche.
Judging by the games played last season, Chamberlain says the new league seems very balanced.
"You don't have a really strong team, you don't have a really weak team. We played the Wheatland Warriors three times, and we had a goal differential of one."
ACAA has also announced the head coaches for the Xtreme, Avalanche, and Bisons
The other teams of the ACAA have also finalized their coaching for the coming season.
Tyson Soloski will return as head coach of the Airdrie Xtreme for his third season.
Kris Keller has been advanced to head coach of the AC Avalanche after serving as an assistant for the past four seasons. Former head coach Terry Sydoruk will remain with the team as an associate.
Brad Bourke has been promoted to head coach of the Airdrie CFR Bisons and had previously been an associate coach since 2018. He replaces Dustin Taylor, who recently took a position with the Global Sport Academy Group.