Rockland, Ont. —
The Rockland Nationals will hope to make quality impressions on- and off-ice in their first season at their new home in Rockland.
The Nats, whose new ownership group relocated the franchise to Rockland from Gloucester this summer, are led by head coach and general manager Dan Sauvé.
Rockland’s roster has an intriguing mix of veterans and young newcomers, and Sauvé has been tasked with returning the franchise to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
2016-17: 22-34-6 (10th)
Key Losses: G Michael Cullen (Amherst College), F Daniel Martin (Cornwall FHL), D Darius Gibson
Key Additions: F Mathieu Blanchette (Alma, QCHL), D Jordan Power (Toronto, GTMMHL), G Zach Roy (Toronto, GTMMHL)
Season Goal: “Yes, you want to make playoffs; yes, you want to win more games, you want to send more guys to D1, but it’s about doing the right things every day: Creating good habits on- and off-ice and reaching out to the community. Get them onboard. Winning some games will help us do that a little quicker.”
Style of Hockey: “The guys we’ve signed so far, we’ve added a lot of skill, (and) a lot of returning guys are very good defensive players. Heart and soul guys. Our team won’t look any different in terms of structure and the way we played in the past; we’ll have a lot more depth, and roll four lines that we feel will play with anyone in the league.”
Training Camp Atmosphere: “The mood has carried over from last year, finishing in Gloucester with the new owners. It just changed everything drastically from the way things were previously. All summer everyone’s been champing at the bit — players, owners, coaching staff. This is a great place to be. Everyone is so gung-ho for the home opener, to finally put on the Rockland Nats jersey.”