Smiths Falls, Ont. —
The Smiths Falls Bears are hoping a strong returning core can lead them to a top-half finish in 2017-18.
Led by returning 18-year-old goaltender Brad Dobson and a forward core featuring 20-year-old Michael Larose and 19-year-old Alex Di Carlo, the Bears will look to take advantage of the wide-open playing field entering the season.
Head coach Walt Dubas, appointed midway through last year, enters his first full season at the helm of Smiths Falls; Mark Grady returns as general manager with the storied organization.
SMITHS FALLS BEARS
2016-17: 24-31-7 (7th, first-round loss to Cornwall [4-1])
Key Losses: F Cole Busschaert, F Brett Garvey, D Jared Henry
Key Returns: G Bradley Dobson, F Michael Larose, D Matthieu Franche
Style of Play: “I’ve told the kids, if you want to be a speed and skill team, you want to carry pucks in to the offensive zone, have at it. Do what you need to do to win hockey games. If you make the wrong decision, you’re accountable to me. We have some younger guys that will take a while to get better, on a development curve, but should be pretty good hockey players.”
Season Goal: “You go into every season hoping to make the playoffs. Anything higher than that is bonus, and we hope to develop some good players. Hope it’s a positive experience playing here.”
Training Camp: “It’s been really good. Great group of kids. Everybody’s been upbeat. we’re getting feedback from kids that we released, went to u18, felt like they got a lot of mentoring. Everything’s been very upbeat. Bodes well for our dressing room as a positive approach.” — General Manager Mark Grady