The long wait is almost over, and the East Coast Wizards are set to return to action.
By Neil Ravin
Coming off of the best season in franchise history, the expectations for the Wizards are higher than they’ve ever been before. Despite 10 different players making their NCAA commitments this past season, the Wizards still expect to build off of a very successful 2016-17 campaign.
“Last year was a special season for us,” said Wizards head coach and general manager Freddy Meyer, a NHL alum. “To go winless in September, and then turn that into a franchise-record 24 victories, it truly shows how hard the players pushed themselves. We all wish the postseason run went on for a little bit longer, but we’re still very proud of what we accomplished.”
Turn the page to this season, and the goals are set towards building off of last year.
The Wizards only have a handful of players returning to the team. There may be some similar growing pains at first. However, with a 50-game regular season, the Wizards coaching staff is emphasizing the “marathon” mentality.
“I think the way last season unfolded for our team was perfect,” added Meyer. “You never want to start the way that we did, but it definitely brought us closer together as a team. With every win the rest of the way, I could feel the team getting better, and then we capped it off by knocking off the Boston Division Champions [Valley Jr. Warriors] in the first round of the playoffs. I’m not saying I want to follow the same exact script as last year. However, we will build and get better as the season progresses. The EHL season is definitely a marathon, and not a sprint.”
The Wizards are set to report just after Labor Day weekend. They will get things underway with a few weeks of practice and preseason games.
All of the prep and off-season work will be key when the Wizards hit the ice for their first regular season game. That will take place on Sept. 20 against the New Hampshire Avalanche.
Be sure to check out the entire Wizards schedule at easternhockeyleague.org.