Drumheller Dragons shine in pre­sea­son play

The Drumheller Mail - - SPORTS - Kyle Smylie mail photo by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

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.

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