Up for the chal­lenge

New coach not fazed by pres­sure

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JASON MAL­LOY

Jim Hulton ex­pects to win with tal­ented Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders ros­ter

Jim Hulton ex­pects to win – now.

The Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders new head coach said the tal­ented ros­ter made it an ap­peal­ing job when the po­si­tion be­came avail­able at the end of June.

“I don’t want to go to some­place that doesn’t ex­pect to win,” Hulton said. “I hope the fans ex­pect to win. I hope the com­mu­nity puts pres­sure on us to win. That’s good pres­sure.”

Hulton was in­tro­duced Thurs­day dur­ing a news con­fer­ence af­ter ac­cept­ing a multi-year deal Mon­day to lead the Is­lan­ders. Terms of the con­tract were not re­leased, per team pol­icy.

Hulton in­her­its a team, which can vir­tu­ally re­turn in tact, other than the three over­age play­ers in Ryan MacKin­non, Ross John­ston and Spenser Cob­bold and one of the four play­ers vy­ing for over­age spots this year.

“Tal­ent wins is the bot­tom line,” Hulton said. “I think the core is here and that’s very ex­cit­ing.” The team went 35-28-1-4 last sea­son and won its first play­off round since 2004.

“One of our goals is to have an even shorter off-sea­son next year,” Hulton said.

That’s mu­sic to the ears of Char­lot­te­town’s Toban Duguay, a fan since the first days of the P.E.I. Rocket.

“It’s a fresh start and it’s a big year for the Is­lan­ders. We’ll see how it plays out. I’m hop­ing for the best,” said Duguay, who wore his Is­lan­ders jersey and hat to the an­nounce­ment. “Any­thing past the sec­ond round is suc­cess­ful in my eyes, and, of course, any­thing more is a bonus.”

Ge­off Boyle, the team’s gover­nor and one of the own­ers, said gen­eral man­ager Grant Sonier made some deals a few sea­sons ago to po­si­tion the team to com­pete with the league’s elite.

“Hope­fully, this year we can take those steps to com­pete with the very best teams,” he said.

It may have be­come harder in re­cent weeks with di­vi­sion ri­vals Saint John, Acadie-Bathurst and Cape Bre­ton all adding tal­ented pieces to their ros­ter.

“I think that’s just go­ing to make us that much bet­ter for a play­off run,” Boyle said.

Hulton said he saw a sign at the East­link Cen­tre stat­ing the Is­lan­ders were the team for all Is­lan­ders, and added he wanted the team to be a re­flec­tion of the hard-work­ing com­mu­nity.

“We want to be a team that makes you proud,” Hulton told the roughly 50 peo­ple in at­ten­dance.

“We want to make this a place that Is­lan­ders love, but ev­ery­body else in the Que­bec league hates.”

JASON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Jim Hulton is the new head coach of the Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders.

Duguay

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