Q&A with Dragons head coach Brian Curran ... part 1
The AJHL hockey season draws near and the pieces are coming together for the Drumheller Dragons after a number of signings in the past few weeks. The Mail had a chance to chat with Dragons head coach Brian Curran on his evolving team and what the club plans to do with the fresh slate of a new season. Follow The Mail next week, August 24 for the conclusion of Curran’s interview. Q With the preseason approaching, we thought it would be a good idea to touch base and see how the team is coming together this year.
Curran: The team has come together fairly well. We’re a couple players away, but the scouting staff did a really good job. We spent a considerable time from January onward in the recruiting process and I think our guys did a great job as far as getting players that I was looking for. It’s somewhat of a youth movement. We’re bringing in a lot of younger players that I think are very talented, skilled, hard working players, for sure. Last year was an average season. Some players had a great season for us and some players underachieved for themselves personally. In the middle of January I thought we’d go in the direction of getting a little bit younger. I’m not saying we’re rebuilding, it’ll look like it for sure, but I think these players have that drive. They are still very young, some are right out of Midget AAA, but are still great players. I won’t have to worry about these kids working their tails off, that’s for sure.
Q *** You said you were talking with your scouts about looking for certain things, is that the youth and work ethic you’re talking about?
Curran: It’s the compete level. They never quit. There’s so many facets to that part of the comment. It’s like going to the net hard, it’s battling in the corners and staying in those battles and winning the battles. It’s coming back hard to our zone. The defencemen we changed up – we have some pretty tough kids back there, but we have some mobile defencemen that can really skate. They’re young but they’re players who have done well where they were playing. They’re just kids that don’t stop and they’ve got good character. I’ve visited 95 per cent of the parents and they’re all good people. Good parents, good background, they all worked hard for what they wanted in life and when I met them it sure looks like the kids know that too and they work hard. Good character is something we wanted to stress. To have those guys that when things get tough they won’t fold and throw in the towel. I’m excited for the year. Q *** Is there something about last year’s team that is making you want to change the culture?
Curran: You know what, last year is done and over with, and I think there were mistakes made all over the place. I certainly thought last year’s team was going to be a much better team, but, at the end of the day, it starts with me. There were things that I should have grabbed onto right from the beginning that were between me and the players, and set us straight and on the right path. I’ve been trying to figure out this Y-generation for two years and at the end of the day I can’t change who I am. I’m going back to the old Brian Curran with some new adjustments that I’ve learned over the last couple years. You can’t change who you are, and it starts with me. I know I’ve made my changes now back to what I like about me as a coach. As for the players, it was a rough year for some of our older players and we just didn’t gel together as well as we should have. But it’s over with, it’s done with, and it’s kind of like the first time I got here – we had to make significant changes, and we did, but started off slow and had a very successful year. I hope we don’t start slow, but I know we’ll be a team people will want to watch. I look at it as a fan, and I would rather watch a team that goes out on the ice and works their tails off. Win or lose you know they’re going to give it their best.
Q *** I think that will resonate with Drumheller, too.
Curran: Yeah, and that’s what we had. The team worked hard certainly at times last year and you could see what they could have been, but we couldn’t sustain it on a daily basis. So you know, I thought that culture had to change. Some have asked me why so many first year players, and my answer is simple: it just feels good. It feels like the right thing to do, for me, right now, and try and get some more scholarships here and put a team on the ice that has fans saying ‘boy, but they worked hard.’ That translates into wins at the end of the year.
Brian Curran... Dragons head coach