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Gee-Gees hockey preparing for a dynamite season

Martyn Dahal | Fulcrum Contributor

Photo courtesy of Sports Services

With the National Hockey League locked out for the foreseeable future, hockey fans may find themselves with some spare time this winter. If you just can’t imagine winter without the game, check out the Gee-Gees hockey teams for your puck fix this season.

Men’s hockey

The men’s hockey team is moving up in the standings. Last year they ended the season 14-13-1 with 29 points and fifth place in the division, a respectable finish for a fairly young team. This year, in pre-season warmup, the Gees looked like pros on the ice.

“We are still a young group of players who took a large step forward that year,” explained Réal Paiement, head coach. “The players are very confident in their play and we are on an upswing in the standings. There is so much disparity this year that I feel that each game can go either way; we can win every game or lose every game, which is why we are going to take it game by game.”

The forward line is highlighted by players who are only in their first years of representing the University of Ottawa. The veteran defensive line, however, features veteran players who are entering their final years as Gee-Gees.

According to Paiment, the team learned a few lessons after last year’s season.

“As a team, we gained a lot of maturity last year and we learned how to play with emotion. Now we have to control [it] and use it to win games,” said Paiement.

In pre-season action, the Gees achieved a  3-2 record, winning their last exhibition game on Oct. 7 against Canisius College by a score of 5-2.

The team will travel to Montreal to play the McGill University Redmen in the season opener on Oct. 12, and you can check out the Gees in action at home on Oct. 13 against Université de Quebec at the Minto Sports Complex. 

Women’s hockey

Based on their pre-season games, the women’s hockey team is getting ready to shine. Last year, the team’s roster boasted 17 first-year players—which could explain their struggle in the standings, finishing in second-last place with a record of 6-13-1. This year the Gees are still welcoming new faces and working on their chemistry—efforts that showed during their pre-season, which they finished with a 6-2 record.

Head coach Yanick Evola said the team’s ranking last year was a result of the many changes the team underwent.

“Last year we had so many new rookies, so it was a year of adjustment. Everyone had to adjust to university life and playing in an unfamiliar system with new players who they have no chemistry with,” explained Evola. “It was a learning year and we have to be patient with new players; so our record isn’t that bad when we take that into account.”

Evola is optimistic about the upcoming season.

“This year is going to be a lot more exciting. We have six new recruits and everyone else is returning. They have adjusted pretty well as they know their school schedules [and] the system and have made friends on the team.”

Evola also spoke about the chemistry that is developing amongst the women and how that will benefit their game this season.

“Team spirit is very good right now. We have a tournament in New Brunswick and we had team activities where we got to bond and get to know each other even better, and that should reflect on the ice.”

The women’s hockey team will kick off their home season against the Carleton University Ravens at the Minto Sports Complex at 7 p.m. on Oct. 12.