Coach Stirling gets two week camp underway despite Hurricane Irene2011-09-06
Head Coach Todd Stirling
The Hurricane does some damage.... The Boston Bandits do some stealing read on.
Todd Stirling, head coach of the Boston Jr. Bandits scrambled all day Monday, but was able to find ice for his team to begin its training camp. Everyone not living on the moon has heard about Hurricane Irene and the damage it has done to most of New England let alone southern and western Massachusetts. Coach Stirling a Massachusetts native his whole life has dealt with hurricanes in the past, but never has he endured the stress that Irene caused, simply because he wanted to start the Bandits off on the right foot. Last season Stirling took over the head coaching duties of the Bandits the day before the season started, so clearly he wanted things to start a little smoother this time around. As the ownership and Bandits coaching staff contemplated the team options, Kenny Andrade (Boston Bandits new strength trainer) took the players through an off-ice training session at the Bridgewater Ice Arena. The Boston Bandits are thrilled to have a former NHL trainer in Kenny with the organization as he worked previously with the Florida Panthers. He has also worked with the Florida Jr. Panthers and served honorably in the United States Army. It is somewhat of a homecoming for Kenny as he graduated from Bridgewater State College.
After making a few calls Coach Stirling was able to secure a two hour block of ice at the Canton Sports Complex for Monday and Tuesday. He had to dodge a few calls from other Eastern Junior Hockey League teams trying to find ice in Bridgewater. The Bridgewater Ice Arena’s power was down for nearly two days and owner Ben Ewing was beginning to worry about losing the ice. At one point the staff in Bridgewater was told they may not have power for a week. So Ben decided that the only thing to do was to find a generator at all costs. He was able to call a friend in Raynham that had a Kohler generator with a Detroit diesel engine just sitting on his farm. So BIA staff hurried and assembled the generator to get the power back going and save the ice. Although it did start the compressors and help keep the ice frozen, the lights didn’t come on till late Tuesday night. Things were starting to get back to normal after unwanted guest Hurricane Irene had come through the Arena.
Coach Stirling ran extremely up tempo practices while in Canton on Monday and Tuesday. “I just wanted to get some flow going and see who could possibly play with whom, but at the same time get these kids in shape.” Stirling said. “We are bigger, stronger and especially faster this year and once our players get into game shape we will be ready for the opener September 8th against the Bay State Breakers, one of our top division rivals.” Fortunately today the Bandits were back on their home ice, working on more flow drills and off-ice team building activities with trainer Kenny Andrade. Tomorrow the Bandits will have a split team scrimmage, just a simple strategy for the kids to compete against each other. Coach Bryan Ewing said “We are fortunate to have five lines and eight defensemen this year, so there will be non-stop on ice competing to get into the lineup.”
The Boston Bandits return only six players so clearly the coaching staff wanted a fresh start. Although there are only six second year Bandits, the team consists of fifteen Veteran Junior A players from various leagues. The North American Hockey League lost four of their players to the Bandits this year in Michael Cox (Fresno), Nick Indelicato (Owatonna), Zach Capozza (Kenai River) and Joe Horak (Janesville). These weren’t just a bunch of scrubs either as Cox led the way with 11 goals and 19 assists and Horak also had a solid year with 4 goals and 16 assists. The Bandits are very excited about the experience this group brings to playing in such a high paced league such as the Eastern Junior Hockey league. Also Coach Stirling was able to woo a couple of players away from their EJHL teams. Such as Peter Macintyre who scored 15 goals and added 19 assists while playing in just 33 games with the South Shore Kings. Former Valley Jr. Warrior Mike Miller will also be joining the Bandits and he brings along with him 14 points in just 22 games played. The Bandits are very excited about a player out of Oakland, California named Louie Reed. He played for Taft School and it’s usually quite the project coming out of prep school and being thrown into Junior A hockey. Although the coaching staff as a whole feels that Louie is more than up to the task of patrolling the blue line on a regular basis. 6’1” Jake Picking is also out of the Prep League coming from Governor’s Academy and he too will need to get used to the speed and physical play of junior hockey, but the staff feels he could be more than capable as well.