By Daniel Austin Posted 22 days ago
When your team is comprised entirely of international players who, for the most part, have very little experience playing Canadian hockey, a coach normally expects there to be a little bit of an adjustment period. After all, Canadian hockey is notorious for being more physical than what is played overseas, and adjusting to the smaller Canadian ice surface alone can take some time.
But for SISEC coach Fred Voser, there's every reason to be optimistic these days. His team, comprised entirely of international players, seems to have adapted to the Canadian style quickly and proved they were ready for the rigours of the North American game on Sept. 25 with a thoroughly convincing 7-0 win over the Okanagan Hockey Academy.
"If you would have seen us play three weeks ago it was a different story but they're holding up pretty well and they're really starting to come together as a team," Voser said. "You're seeing good puck movement and signs of them knowing where they need to skate on Canadian ice. That's really great to see."
SISEC scored early and often against OHA in their third game of the weekend. By the end of the game, players from both teams were beginning to play more physically. As the hits escalated, tempers began to flare.
"I think we do have to work a little bit on discipline. I'd definitely like to see them more disciplined," Voser said. "But when you're 16 years old and you get hit three or four times and the ref doesn't make the call you're going to defend yourself.
"But we want to be a classy team and be the team that takes a step back and doesn't do stupid things. I want to see my players on the bench on my side of the rink, not sitting across the ice in the box."
Fortunately, when the trash talk got started and the game got chippy, all the SISEC players had to do was point at the scoreboard.
While OHA pressed in an effort to avoid being shutout, SISEC 's players showed impressive composure and made sure to clear traffic in front of the net. It was the sort of all-round performance that had Voser struggling to select one player he thought deserved extra credit.
"The entire team impressed, honestly," he said. "They came out as a unit. Three weeks ago it was just a bunch of individuals out there. But the guys who really played well today only played well because the rest of the team did what they
SISEC's squad is comprised of European players, including four Russians for the first time. With so many languages being spoken in the locker room Voser said there was always a period of adjustment early in the season.
The players all live with host families in and around the Cochrane area and attend Bow Valley High School. Voser said the team looks to try and volunteer in the community whenever possible and that establishing connections with Cochrane was an important part of what his players were here to do.