We are only hours away from the Merritt Centennials regular-season debut at the NVMA versus the Wenatchee Wild. But before the games start counting for real, Q101 sat down with Head Coach and GM Barry Wolff for a look back at training camp and the season ahead.
“We were happy with how things progressed, the camp was very competitive, a lot of high-end players with high-end compete. Made some decisions hard and we still have a few to go but we’re ready to go for Friday night,” said Wolff
“Obviously it’s tough making cuts, but guys pretty much weed themselves out as the tempo gets stronger and faster every day. When you start putting them through different drills at practice you can see their strengths, their weakness. It’s kind of easier than people think,” added Wolff.
With over 80 players in camp for the first few days, Wolff and his assistant Derek Sweet-Coulter got to look at a large group of younger players, who normally wouldn’t attend the main camp.
“Those kids we identified, we thought maybe they could be future guys. You bring them in, and they can get to know you a little better and the area and the town. Hopefully, you build that relationship over that time and then continue with that over the season,” said Wolff.
As far as the preseason goes, it's hard to get a grasp on exactly what the team’s identity will be.
“We don’t know yet, we’ll find out here in the next couple of weeks. We’re trying hard to create an identity, the way we want to play, so hopefully we can start that tonight. We want to play fast and, in your face, and make sure we win games at home,” said Wolff.
Tonight, the Cents welcome the Wenatchee Wild to the friendly confines of the NVMA, and Coach Wolff expects a hard-fought battle.
“They are going to be skilled and fast and they love to cycle out of the corner in the offensive zone. They’ll throw pucks at the net from anywhere and everywhere, so we need to be aware of that,” concluded Wolff.
Puck drop tonight is 7 pm. If you can’t make it to the rink, Q101 will broadcast the contest beginning at 6:45 with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt