Drumheller Dragons shine in preseason play
And just like that, hockey season is back and the Dragons are showing some bright signs on the ice.
After a competitive training camp last week, the Dragons were right into the thick of it with exhibition games at a sixteam preseason tournament in Camrose.
At their first game on Wednesday, August 29 they topped the Sherwood Park Crusaders 6-5. On Thursday, they topped the Fort McMurray Oil Barons 4-1 and then on Friday beat the Drayton Valley Thunder 5-2.
“The veteran players had a really good summer and they are all highly motivated. I think it starts with the leadership and they have to be the ones that conduct themselves in a way that shows everyone what the standards are going to be moving forward,” said head coach Kevin Hasselberg.
He was also impressed with the professionalism and dedication of new staff on the bench, including former Dragon and assistant coach Kenton Levesque and athletic therapist and equipment trainer Rebecca Kuresh.
“They did a tremendous job over the weekend. There was clarity in what they were doing, they were confident and I think that was a reflection of what was on the ice. I think it was all about staying organized, being prepared,” he said. On the ice, the Dragons scored 15 goals in three games. Coach Hasselberg said their defense was also coming around.
“The skill and speed of our team certainly achieved the highest grades over the course of the week,” said Hasselberg. “Even though we started slow defensively our game really picked up and you saw players start to work better together and by that last couple of games, our goals against came way down. These were fundamental details we were stressing over the week.”
One challenge for the coaching staff is to whittle down the roster as the season approaches.
“We are still carrying 30plus players and that’s way too many for where we are at right now. That is going to happen very rapidly and aggressively this week, we have some very difficult decisions ahead,” he said.
This week hockey fans will be able to get a glimpse of the Dragons on home ice. On Wednesday, September 5, they play the Kindersley Klippers of the SJHL and then on Friday, play the Brooks Bandits in exhibition play.
The skill and speed of our team certainly achieved the highest grades over the course of the week”. Kevin Hasselberg Head Coach
The Dragons are back on the ice and are 3-0 in exhibition play.