What team/player has the most to prove this season?

What team/player has the most to prove this season?

Joined: August 22nd, 2009, 5:29 am

August 24th, 2009, 6:24 am #1

Great topic,

I'd definitely have to go with Either the Burns Lake Braves or the Steelheads and here's why...

Braves:

Coming back into the CIHL after 4 years off the ice and previous to that having a real quality past they are expected to be a competitive team and despite struggles to latest expansion franchises, the Braves really need to prove themselves as legitimate contenders over the season. I think problems that happen to Hazelton and Prince Rupert are confidence problems after losing a close game or getting blown out. I think the Braves have to win a couple early games to gain confidence and really prove they belong in the league.

Steelheads:

I know many of you people will agree to this one but the Steelheads have been in the league for a long time and are sometimes known as underachievers. They are a really talented team but often choke in the playoffs or undisciplined action leads to upset victories. The Heads have had some great years in the past but just last year in the playoffs couldn't get the job done. This year I think they have a lot to prove that they will still be competitive. Switching conferences should help them a bit and potentially give them a boost. although they will be back playing more against Kitimat, the Smithers houston rivalry may suffer a bit, which in turn helps them. I think they really have a lot to show this season and I truly believe they will prevail and get the job done. But it all starts in training and a some new players will boost a healthy franchise and ultimately lead them to victory.
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Joined: January 25th, 2005, 2:48 pm

August 24th, 2009, 3:56 pm #2

I really can't think of a dingle team in the league that won't see this as a defining year. The financial downturn will hit everybody.

The two mentioned so far, yes, and the rationale is good.

The Kitimat Ice Demons -- running into some issues as core players start to hit the wall...Wilson, retired, Hewitson, moving to coaching, Markwart, Meyer, Plante -- injuries that have nagged snd kept them away too long...coaching changes...do they have too much to live up to??

...played seven years, playoff champs five in a row, three Coy Cups, out once in the final, twice in the semis...town hockey pool
really slimmed down. Needs to inject young talent and this can take time.

Terrace River Kings -- burned so many bridges with its sponsors and fans that only a major winning season can earn them back respect and
credibility. When your players think twice about suiting up...and good contributors have simply jumped ship, there's a long climb back needed. This team needs to be seen to be representing the community...

Omineca Ice -- internal warfare, so many clashes, not enough local content compared to other teams -- a major challenge this season.
Can the admin get the players all singing from the same song book?

Hazelton -- Perhaps the team with the most to prove. And we should ackowledge it ... This is the smallest community in the league yet they have struggled mightily, mostly on the verge of success, but allowing it to slip away so often. Problems with the barn need addressed. But stiil entertaining and a good challenge to all teams.

The Rampage -- year two is one of the hardest. Expected to get better...had a sterling opening seaon on one of the most important fronts, financially. Took a hit with some bad advice is carding an A team to be sure of players. Have enouigh credibility this year to make a good showing on the ice ... but it will be a necessity --
people won't shell out the dollars without results. Rule #1...

Luckies -- another team, I think with some age and injury woes...
But they've been through that before. If I expect a team to bounce back this is the one. It's in their nature...

Stampeders -- ironically, best positioned to keep coming back, but hamstrung again by a junior team that will eat into their crowds and thus their finances. Most teams should be glad they don't face this one every year or two...but good admin, volunteers and player support seems to keep the Stamps a step ahead, despite adversity.


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Joined: August 22nd, 2009, 5:29 am

August 25th, 2009, 12:49 am #3

I agree with pretty much everything you said. Williams Lake will suffer big time with the return of the T-Wolves. It would be interesting to look at a comparison of how much more they get in attendance when the junior team wasn't playing.

b69
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Joined: October 6th, 2008, 4:08 am

August 25th, 2009, 4:03 am #4

I don't think you'll see a big drop off in attendance from last season with the Stamps. For years this team was a doormat and for years the fans were not given quality hockey with half the home games every year against the likes of 100 Mile and Mackenzie. This team has finally established a fan base becuase... A. They are winning and B. The level of hockey in the CIHL has improved. I expect that to continue.

Besides for anyone who may have been following the progress of the Timberwolves, they may well be setting themselves up for one of the most embarrassing seasons a junior A team has seen in the BCHL ever... wins and losses wise. No good talent recruited a Coach/GM that has already had to be replaced and so on.

The Stamps are the most stable franchise in WL.
Go Stamps Go!
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Joined: August 22nd, 2009, 5:29 am

August 25th, 2009, 5:38 pm #5

What happened to Brad Fox???
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Joined: October 6th, 2008, 4:08 am

August 26th, 2009, 2:40 am #6

Good Topic...

I think Hazelton has the most to prove. Having been in the basement from day 1, they finally tasted alittle success late last year and into the playoffs with thier first ever series win. Now the expectations are higher and with Smithers moving over being competitive will become more difficult. Time will tell if they can build off last seasons finish, but it's going to be tougher then they anticipate.

Smithers is also a teama with alot to prove. They served notice to the league last year that they are officially for real, but once again failed in the post season when it matters most. This team has to prove they can win when it matters most. Personally, I think they're capable, but they now have to go through the most battle tested and experienced team in the CIHL in Kitimat.

As for players, that's tough...

A couple that stand out to me are Dave Wilejto and Wes Hart. These guys were staples of the old Braves teams of the past and after afew years in and out of the league they're back and will be relied on heavily to carry the Braves again in 09-10. It's been awhile since Hart was a number one and getting back to his old form will be huge if the Braves are to have any success in year one, but getting Dave back to his dominant ways may be more important. At his best he was the best offensive and defensive defenceman in the league and if he can return to his old form the Braves will be tough to beat.

Another guy I think might have something to prove is Blain Markwart. Blain dominated the league for years, but after knee surgery slowed down alot last year. I would expect him to get closer to where he was before his injury.

Go Stamps Go!
Go Stamps Go!
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Joined: October 6th, 2008, 5:58 pm

August 27th, 2009, 3:30 pm #7

I think most of you are forgetting one thing, Daves brother Steve. was one of the most dominant players in the cihl. i think there are teams in the cihl that cant match his speed. not to mention he has a shot as hard or harder than Dave. All you teams in the league better watch out for this team cause they will be damn good. the only downturn to this team may be Hart but who's to say, as someone from houston we never had a chance to see him play for the luckies so who knows. But lets not forget that they won the league before with Hart in net so only time will tell. Not to mention they had the second best fans in the cihl behind the luckies. Good to see you guys back and cant wait to see you here.
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Joined: January 25th, 2005, 2:48 pm

August 28th, 2009, 5:12 am #8

slick, smooth skating, good scorer, a real addition back in the league. And a local..but who will we see from PG backing him up? I hear the PG trolling is pretty intense...I hoped most of the teams would try to stay local, but I guess there's just not enough quality players available in the central interior...
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Joined: January 16th, 2005, 2:13 am

August 28th, 2009, 3:22 pm #9

None of the teams stay local. Everyone has fly/drive in players. What was that big guy you guys kept flying in from the island. Nate kicked his ass and we never seen him again.
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Joined: October 25th, 2006, 1:20 am

August 28th, 2009, 4:32 pm #10

That was a pretty good tilt, right in terrace, with a good crowd to.
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