Men’s hockey looks hopeful with 10 new recruits

Men’s head hockey coach, Greg Puhalski, and the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks added ten new recruits to their 2016-17 class, to build on their progressive year that ended the three-year playoff drought.  Puhalski said that the incoming recruiting class will address some of their concerns by bringing more size on defence and some players who play centre.

“We were on a priority for it,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the guys we were able to bring in. We’re looking forward for them to be part of our team for years to come.”

The 2016-17 recruiting class features six forwards and four defenceman. Manning the blueline is Braydon Blight, Alex Annecchairico, Jacob Hetherington and Jeremy Leclerc, all hopeful to bring size to the Golden Hawks defence corps. Hetherington stands at a towering 6’4” while the average height between the four players is 6’2”. According to Puhalski, the new defenders bring size and a little more dependability to their blueline.

On the offensive side, the Hawks added Jimmy Soper, Lucas Batt, Andrew Fritsch, Danny Hanlon, Cole Porter and Neil Aird. Puhalski said that of the six forwards, three of them play centre – a position that the team lacked experience in last year.

“Most of our four centremen that played centre last year didn’t play a lot of centre beforehand,” he said. “It’s an important position on your team so we wanted to make sure we found some centremen who were familiar with playing centre.”

This recruiting class also has a more unique glow to it than in the past. Puhalski recruited athletes from across Canada, ranging from Saskatchewan to Newfoundland. Puhalski said that it’s a great thing that they were able to get a good mix of guys across the country. Currently, the new recruiting class has played in eight different hockey leagues before coming to Laurier, including the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL),  the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL), the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) and the Maritime Hockey League (MHL). Fritsch transferred from St. Thomas University and the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference to join the Hawks this season.

“Predominantly, we’ve recruited our kids out of Ontario, [so] it’s nice to get guys from different parts of the country,” Puhalski said. “I think it just adds to the good experience for your whole team and those guys. They’re going to really experience the Laurier campus and the Laurier community.”

Puhalski also wanted to spark some inner competition within the team and give everybody a chance to compete for roles right from the beginning.  Puhalski said that most of the players will really be able to compete and step into a good role with the Hawks right off the bat.

“That was one of the things we wanted to address,” he explained. “Make sure we have some inner competition in our team for ice time and I think we accomplished that.”

And with next season being right around the corner, with their first non-conference game against the Waterloo Warriors scheduled for September 14, Puhalski said that the Hawks aren’t going to be a team that relies on one player, but focus on playing a team game.

“We’re not going to be a team that relies on one individual or a predominant player. We got to be about the whole team and I think the guys that we have bringing in fit that mould perfectly,” he said.

“For us, that’s what’s most important.”

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