It might only be the middle of August on the calendar, but in Canada that can still mean the start of hockey season, or at least that it’s time to begin preparing for the upcoming season.
That is what the Yorkton SECON Maulers were doing as the AAA Midget club held its fall camp at the Farrell Agencies Arena over the weekend.
After a season where the team struggled for wins, it’s a new chapter for the Maulers who have a new naming sponsor, new logo, new head coach and of course some new players after the weekend.
The new coach is at least a familiar face to local hockey fans since Ed Zawatsky played for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Yorkton Terriers in 1985-86, spent time as assistant coach, then head coach and general manager with the franchise.
After a stint coaching Bantam and Midget programs in British Columbia he is back in the city with the Maulers.
“It’s pretty comfortable here,” he said in the first intermission of the intra-squad game Sunday, adding with family in the area taking the position was a good fit.
Zawatsky comes to the Maulers with a fresh outlook, wanting to look forward with the team rather than dwelling on the losses last season.
“I haven’t even really looked at what happened last year,” he said, adding in taking the position the team executive made it clear this was a fresh start for the team.
The weekend camp attracted about 70-players, although Zawatsky noted it is the nature of hockey at this time of year some players are likely to filter to try-outs after attending other camps.
Still he said, “It was competitive. I like how they were working this weekend.”
The camp might not have had all the skill in the world, but Zawatsky said he liked the character and work ethic he saw from a number of players, adding that is something he can work with moving forward.
Moving forward the Maulers will be taking a team approach to things, and that means building character and chemistry among the entire roster both on the ice and off, said Zawatsky.
“It’s not always about wins and losses,” he said, adding he wants the members of the Maulers to grow as players and as young men.
Zawatsky expected to keep 25-30 players from the weekend camp, adding “we still have some spots open” so the final roster will come together in the next couple of weeks.