I hardly slept last night. I was worse than a young child on Christmas morning, with the anticipation of Santa Claus coming and bringing presents. Why? It’s the start of another Ontario Hockey League season for the Sudbury Wolves.
I was up well before sunrise this morning, for no other purpose than that of extreme anticipation of hockey season starting. Today is the day.
You see, the Wolves haven’t played hockey since April 2. (Pre-season games just don’t count.)
At 7:05 tonight, everything starts to matter.
We are coming into the second year of the new era, under the ownership of Dario Zulich. It could be argued that this season really is the start of another new era.
With the departure of David Matsos behind the bench, there have been some pretty big off-season changes both on the bench and on the ice.
One of the key pieces, I think Wolves fans should be most excited about, is new coach Cory Stillman. This is a man who knows exactly what it takes to win championships. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, a proven winner. He is a guy who was brought in to help young players, to help them develop.
This is a game changer. Not only does Stillman bring a proven winning track record, he brings with him a renewed desire among players to come to play in Sudbury. That right there is worth every single dollar of his contract.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Stillman last week as we recorded interviews for the coming season for the Eastlink broadcasts and his approach to the team and how he plans on coaching, really intrigued me.
He demands accountability from his players. It doesn’t matter if you’re the “star forward” or the fourth-line winger, he expects a two-way game. I don’t think the true value that Stillman brings to the Wolves organization is truly understood by the fans yet but give it time.
It’s an exciting night for many as they make their return to hockey that matters. It’s been a long off-season for the players and the Wolves faithful.
The slate is clean. What they do moving forward is what is going to matter.
To the rookies that make their OHL debut tonight, take it all in. When you look back on your OHL career in four-five years from now, you’ll remember tonight, so make it count.
Time to get started on writing this next chapter in Wolves history — the 2017-2018 season is here.
And tune in live tonight and catch me on the Eastlink broadcast during intermissions.