Dragons open sea­son Fri­day at home

The Drumheller Mail - - SPORTS - Patrick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail mailphoto by Patrick Ko­lafa

The Drumheller Dragons are open­ing their sea­son on Fri­day night at home, and judg­ing by the pre­sea­son, there should be some ex­cit­ing ac­tion on the ice.

The Dragons had a strong ex­hi­bi­tion sea­son with three wins in tour­na­ment play in Camrose. They fol­lowed it up with a 4-0 shutout win over the Kin­der­s­ley Klip­pers. On Fri­day, Septem­ber 7, they hosted the Brooks Ban­dits but lost 4-3 in over­time. On Satur­day they headed to Brooks for the sec­ond of the se­ries and this time fell 2-0.

De­spite the losses, coach Kevin Has­sel­berg is en­cour­aged by the di­rec­tion of the team.

“The pre­sea­son is all about learn­ing about your team and as­sess­ing from our ros­ter per­spec­tive, and also from a how we play per­spec­tive, and I thought there was a lot of pos­i­tives we took from the two games, and we will get bet­ter from it,” said Has­sel­berg.

A part of get­ting to know the new ros­ter is watch­ing it de­velop its cul­ture.

“We are go­ing to be strength-driven from lead­er­ship. I think lead­er­ship cre­ates cul­ture and a part of lead­er­ship is draw­ing from the strengths of the in­di­vid­ual char- ac­ter of these play­ers,” he said. “Through hockey school, our camp, and now ven­tur­ing into the reg­u­lar sea­son, I think as a staff and or­ga­ni­za­tion we couldn’t have a bet­ter sit­u­a­tion be­ing sur­rounded by play­ers that are pas­sion­ate about Dragon hockey and are will­ing and pre­pared to lead this hockey team.”

This de­vel­op­ment is an on­go­ing fea­ture of a healthy pro­gram.

“It sus­tains it­self. The at­ti­tude and the be­lief sys­tem, the cul­ture of the team is left be­hind by the play­ers that were here in the past. Those play­ers pre­pare the new play­ers,” he said. ‘ You want to sus­tain that cul­ture and that is the ul­ti­mate goal of an or­ga­ni­za­tion. Once you have it, it is sus­tain­ing it and grow­ing it con­sis­tently.”

“The core prin­ci­ples and val­ues the team has, that stays with the team and I re­ally like the foun­da­tion that has been built, now we have to build off of it.”

The Dragons open the reg­u­lar sea­son this Fri­day, Septem­ber 14 ver­sus long­time con­fer­ence ri­vals, the Brooks Ban­dits. The Ban­dits were di­vi­sion run­nerups last sea­son and are host­ing the 2019 RBC Cup.

“We feel we are right there with any­body and the play­ers have that be­lief, the staff cer­tainly believe in that, and now it is all about putting in the work. One thing this group is go­ing to do, is work hard and value prepa­ra­tion, and they are go­ing to be to­gether on this,” said Has­sel­berg.

Game time on Fri­day is 7:30 p.m. Come down to the Drumheller Me­mo­rial Arena on game day from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a tail­gate party.

The Dragons open the reg­u­lar sea­son this Fri­day verus the Brooks Ban­dits at home.

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