Falcons impress new coach
Tyler Bielby has been on the job for only a couple of weeks and he’s already blown away with his team.
The new coach of the St. Catharines Falcons has been thrilled with not only the talent assembled by general manager Frank Girhiny, but their off-ice quality as well.
“Where my excitement is really driven from at this point is the character of the young men in that room. I can’t speak highly enough,” Bielby said. “To see that character of the 20-year-olds and to see the look in their eyes and they’re already paying attention to details two weeks into training camp.
“I’m extremely excited to do right by those boys in that dressing room.”
Bielby places a huge amount of importance on what goes on inside the room.
“We’re going to have a team that understands that nobody is bigger than the game itself and they’re going to play for the guy beside them.
“There’s a term I’m using a lot, unity and diversity. We all come from different cities and different upbringings, different levels of hockey. How do we bring this group of strangers together to achieve our common goal in May? That’s our theme, our foundation.”
Bielby will also demand the Falcons bring their work boots to the rink each night.
“We’ll always have some skill. We will outwork every single team we play this year from top to bottom, that is the identity. The passion and the desire have to be there.”
The Falcons, coming off a solid season that saw them lose the Golden Horseshoe final in the final minute to the Niagara Falls Canucks, once again figure to challenge for a title.
Girhiny has assembled a team of the maximum nine 20-year-olds, including returnees Bryce Robertson, Josh Urbshott and Andrew Somerville on defence, and Carson Edwardson, Xavier Drummond, Noah Solinger and Noah Blakely up front.
Notable newcomers include former Sarnia Sting winger and Welland native Curtis Egert, defenceman Brady Caruso and rookies Michael Santini, Kyle Glenney, Nick Volpatti, Adam Cherapacha, Kylar Watson, Michael Angrilli, Carter Geoffroy and Jonah Boria.
Former Sting netminder Blair Coffin, a native of Dunnville, has been brought in while Ethan Cook will serve as back-up.
“We have a nice mix of 20-year-olds and young guys,” Bielby said. “We also have a big group of 17-and 18-year-olds who need a lot of mentoring and teaching.”
Bielby believes the Falcons will be well balanced from the net on out.
“I think we’re a well-rounded team to start the season,” he said. “Goal scoring is always a commodity that is tough to come by. It goes back to trying to find a way to play as a unit and paying attention to details and working as a unit will create our goals as long as we are taking care of our own end first.”
The Falcons begin regular season play Friday at 8 p.m. in Pelham when they take on the defending Sutherland Cup champion Waterloo Siskins as part of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League Showcase Tournament. The Falcons also play the Leamington Flyers Saturday at 8 p.m.
“I think we’re as ready as we can be at this stage of the year,” Bielby said. “There is a lot of teaching, a lot of walk-throughs and a lot of systems stuff to really dive into.”
The Falcons also travel to Hamilton to take on the Kilty B’s Monday before hosting the Thorold Blackhawks Friday, Sept. 13 in their home opener.
Bielby understands it is early and there will be a learning curve.
“I think we’re willing to learn is on the systematic and teaching aspects of the game and expect mistakes to happen on that part of the ice because of the time of the year and because we’re teaching some new things.
“Where I don’t have patience for that learning curve goes back to the work ethic. That I expect to be here right now. “
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