Gander Fly­ers fo­cus on lo­cal hockey

Home opener set for Satur­day night

The Beacon (Gander) - - News - BY ADAM RAN­DELL Adam.ran­dell@gan­der­bea­

Af­ter a lot of un­cer­tainty about whether there would be an­other Cen­tral West Se­nior A hockey sea­son, the Kelly Ford Gander Fly­ers will kick things off with a home opener puck drop against the Clarenville Car­bi­ous on Satur­day night.

The Fly­ers have put sig­nif­i­cant fo­cus on bring­ing about a lo­cal feel this year – aim­ing for home­town pride – by build­ing a ros­ter of lo­cal tal­ent and re­turn­ing Fly­ers.

This year’s lineup in­cludes six lo­cal play­ers. Four of them, in­clud­ing Josh Fitzger­ald, Thomas Hedges, Colton Collins and Gra­ham Old­ford, are re­turn­ing home to wear the pur­ple and gold.

Lo­cals Doug Hardi­man and Ryan Mathe­son are also set to re­turn.

Jan­ice Fitzger­ald, club pres­i­dent, is hope­ful the in­jec­tion of home­grown tal­ent will put fans in the stands.

“We feel it’s a step in the right di­rec­tion, it’s more of a draw for the fans, that they will be more in­clined to come out and sup­port their own play­ers, who they have got to watch over the years,” Fitzger­ald said.

Hav­ing spent three years in the Mar­itimes play­ing hockey, Josh Fitz­patrick – Jan­ice’s son – is mak­ing the trip home to lace up the skates for what is lit­er­ally his home­town team. And he couldn’t be hap­pier. “Born and raised here, grow­ing up play­ing Gander mi­nor hockey, it was an op­por­tu­nity to give some­thing back and play in front of fam­ily and friends,” Josh said. “It’s go­ing to be ex­cit­ing to put on the Fly­ers jer­sey again.”

Given that he’ll be play­ing along side a lot of old friends and fa­mil­iar faces, backed by head coach Rick Shep­pard – who Josh at­tributes as some­one who done a lot for his de­vel­op­ment in hockey grow­ing up – the young hockey player is ex­pect­ing to see a hard-work­ing team this year.

And he’s hop­ing the lo­cals can lead the way in do­ing that.

“The six of us we are all pretty close bud­dies, we want to see Gander do well, and we want to work hard ev­ery night, be­cause we’re play­ing for the pride of Gander.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.