FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A crowd of fifty players, parents, and members of the Fort St. John Minor Hockey Association met at the Energetic Learning Campus last night to hear about the direction the Northeast BC/Yukon Trackers will be headed with new head coach David C. Johnston at the helm.
Last night’s meet and greet with the new coach was the second of two after visiting with parents and players in Dawson Creek on Tuesday. Johnston was announced as the Trackers’ new head coach one week ago. Before signing on with the team, the Williams Lake native served as an Assistant Coach with the Nanaimo Clippers for three years, and as head coach of the Junior ‘B’ Oceanside Generals in Parksville for almost twenty.
Though he acknowledges the differences between the styles of hockey on the coast compared to the Interior, he prefers the more “old school” style of hockey played in Northern BC. He says that players, regardless of their roles on the team will need to adopt a consistent, and hard work ethic if they make the cut this season. He added that the team will be learning to play aggressively this season both offensively and defensively, similar to the style of this year’s Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins. A longtime Philadelphia Flyers fan, Johnston agreed that his favoured hockey style could be called an “evolution of the Broadstreet Bullies.”
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The move from the BCHL to the NAMHL is a challenge Johnston looks forward to, as coaching Midget hockey is more of a teaching role, which is one of his favourite parts of the job.
Though hockey will remain a big focus for the Trackers, who will be on the ice four times per week, and training on dry land a further three, Johnston says that his players’ academics will be an equal focus. He says that players will be expected to maintain a decent grade-point average, or risk being benched.
The Trackers training camp begins on August 26th at the Taylor Ice Centre at 5:00 p.m.