The Hartford Jr. Wolfpack have a tradition of successfully providing collegiate hockey playing opportunities for their players.
With that, they are often in a position to rebuild their roster and this year is no exception.
By Jim Smith
With 18 players from the 2016-17 program making college commitments, new general manager and head coach Mike Tenney has the opportunity to recharge his program. The Wolfpack are preparing to enter their first year of competition in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) during the 2017-18 campaign.
“Hopefully some of the [roster] will be filled after tryouts,” said Tenney. “If we could be at 60-65 percent full after the tryouts, I’d be happy with that. You still have to go out and recruit the top part of your roster, especially in the new landscape of the NCDC [National Collegiate Development Conference] being tuition-free. You’re going to have to wait for some players. We are hoping we can fill out the depth of our roster through the tryout process.”
As Tenney prepares for his first season at the helm of the Jr. Wolfpack, he is familiarizing himself with the Hartford routine and putting his own touches on the goals of the program.
“I learn something new every day. I am learning the landscape of being in Connecticut versus anywhere else in New England. Everywhere you go in New England is unique,” Tenney said.
“I feel like [Hartford owner] Mr. [Bob] Crawford has done a great job surrounding me with a good support staff, including assistant general manager Jack Lowry. When you have more people pulling in the same direction, your job and your stress get lighter,” said Tenney.
Tenney has clear-cut expectations as to the experience he wants to provide his players next season and expectations of himself as well.
“I want being on the roster to be an experience for the player,” Tenney said. “I’m trying to build a more-inclusive experience. I want to fill up the players’ day. It will make them well-rounded as they go into a collegiate environment. We are really trying to make this a 24/7/365 experience. When you become a member of the Jr. Wolfpack, you are going to get infused in all facets, the on-ice piece and the off-ice piece.”
“It is my responsibility to make sure that an experience like that happens,” said Tenney. “I need all 50 kids to have similar experiences.”
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