TISDALE — After about 10 months of waiting, Tisdale Trojans fans were finally able to see their team in action last weekend.
At the Tisdale RECplex, the Trojans fell, 3-1, to the Saskatoon Contacts in Saskatchewan Male U18 AAA Hockey League preseason action. It was the team’s first outing since Nov. 14, 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the pause and eventual cancellation of the season.
“That was definitely a lot of fun,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said about his team competing again. “The barn was pretty much packed. They boys had a lot of energy before the game and just excitement. You got pretty much everybody on your team in their first AAA game. The excitement was pretty high.”
In their pre-season opener, the Trojans only had two players – defenceman Cole Barry and goalie Cody Wilson – from last season’s squad. Kuabt was pleased with how poised his young group was against the Contacts. They made plays and did not just give the puck away, he noted. Kubat said there were lots of good things to take away from the game.
“It’ll be awesome to show the boys some video of the good things that they did … All in all, the coaching staff was really pleased with how they played for their first AAA game,” he said. “We’re pretty excited to keep developing these guys. We are young, but I think the future is pretty bright here if they continue to put in the work and continue to want to learn.”
The head coach said it was good to get that first AAA game in for the team’s newcomers.
“Just for the boys to realize the pace of play,” Kubat said. “Hopefully that pace of play can carry over to practice. This next month or two are really big for us – just to develop our culture, develop good habits, and get to know our systems. It’s a lot for the boys to take in, but they’ve been unbelievable in the first couple weeks wanting to learn and wanting to get better. As a staff, that’s all we can ask for.”
Like the Trojans themselves, the staff leading the Tisdale AAA organization this season has some new faces. Kubat and assistant coach Rob Pollon return but assistant coaches Gavin Brandl and Courtney Tremblay, the organization’s first female assistant, are new.
“The boys are pretty lucky to have our assistants,” Kubat said. “Gavin Brandl brings a ton of knowledge to these boys. … The different concepts and different systems we want to play this year … He’s a great coach just with his communication with them.
“Having Pollon back, he has a lot of knowledge. Adding Courtney is just another perspective. We get along great, and it’s been a great start to the year.”
Billeting in Tisdale and the area, the Trojans have not been focused solely on hockey. Last Sunday the athletes played slo-pitch softball. Their annual mantracker event is slated for this coming weekend. Last weekend the players helped out at the canteen and on the chain gang at the Tisdale Middle & Secondary School football game. Kubat said these are important components of the AAA experience.
“Getting to know the community, volunteering, and getting to know your teammates better,” he said. “Just developing as a person just as much as a player.”