(Photo credit – Garrett James)
If you ask Tanner Marshall, he’ll say the Merritt Centennials are 1-1. Some may even be inclined to say 1-0, but whichever way you look at it one thing is clear, Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter has quickly changed the culture and the attitude around the hockey club.
This week Tanner stopped by Q101 for five good minutes to chat about playing in front of his family, recent team building and more.
Tanner is a Kelowna kid and was given the chance to start in front of his family last weekend versus West Kelowna.
“It was cool, it was fun. That was my first time playing in West Kelowna in front of my family,” said Tanner.
With family weekend on tap at the NVMA, Tanner will be getting another shot to play in front of his family this weekend when they make the trip over the connector.
Tanner and Ryan Winter have been battling for the starting job in the crease all season, a battle Tanner believes makes them both better.
“It’s a really good relationship. We’re both battling to be the number one guy and that’s a healthy competition. Wherever you play you have the battle between the two goalies and that only makes everyone better,” said Tanner.
“Derek said he’s going to let it play out, and you want to play the guy that’s hot and stopping the puck. At the end of the day whoever is stopping the puck is going to play,” added Tanner.
As for what element of his game his been working on, Tanner said tracking.
“The biggest thing in today’s game is tracking. I’m not going to be a 6’5 goalie, so I have to beat plays on my feet and try to be fast. Work on really tracking the puck and battling in the scrambles. Playing simple and doing every I can to give the guys a chance to win,” said Tanner.
Over the past week and change, the idea of team building has been front and centre from Coach Derek. The squad has gone bowling, played softball at Central Park, helped teach kids to skate, and put words like ‘Courage’ up around their dressing room.
“We’ve been through a roller coaster,” began Tanner. “So, the team bonding, the baseball on Wednesday, getting the guys together and taking the mind off hockey. Getting us together and getting us to step back, it’s not always about hockey. When we can relax and have fun with everybody off the ice, that’s when you really start learning how to win games,” said Tanner.
The Cents have a pair of weekend contests on the schedule for parents’ weekend. Tonight at 7 pm versus the Langley Rivermen. Then on Sunday at 2 pm versus the Penticton Vees.
Catch all the action this weekend on Q101 with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt