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New-look Puget Sound Tomahawks hit the ice for 2010 hockey season
“Extreme Makeover Hockey Edition” might be the only way to describe the Puget Sound Tomahawks’ offseason.
The Tomahawks overhauled their roster and coaching staff, welcoming 17 rookies, a new head coach and a handful of assistants for the 2010 Northern Pacific Hockey League season.
“Pretty much everything about this team is new,” said first-year coach Jason Quinn. “It’s going to be a challenge, taking something new or taking something that hasn’t been where it should be, and rebuilding it.”
Puget Sound opened the year with three consecutive losses Sept. 24-26 at the Bremerton Ice Center and was outscored 18-2 in the three games, losing to the Eugene Generals twice and the Southern Oregon Spartans once.
Despite the lopsided scores — Puget Sound lost 4-1, 5-0 and 9-1 — Quinn believes the new-look team can reach the playoffs and finish above .500. The Tomahawks were 13-35 last season under Chadd Olson, who was coach for three seasons.
“It was a big wake-up call, especially for the young guys,” first-year coach Jason Quinn said. “It was an eye-opener. They know they need to put in the time and effort if they want to be successful.”
For the team to make the playoffs, however, Quinn feels the players must establish chemistry with each other — not only on the ice, but off it.
Seventeen of the 21 athletes are rookies and many of them are 15 or 16 years old. So the coach organizes non-hockey activities twice a week in hopes the players bond. He coordinates team movies, bonfires, workouts and even paintball-shooting tournaments.
“The more they support each other and the more positive examples they see, the better the team will be,” Quinn said. “From day one, we really put a lot of emphasis on team building.”
Quinn has more than 10 years of coaching and scouting experience and has been part of rebuilding jobs in the past.
Prior to joining the Tomahawks, he was an assistant coach for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. Quinn also logged stints as an assistant for the Vancouver Giants and Portland WinterHawks, both of the Western Hockey League. He also has experience as s scout and general manager.
In the early 2000s, Quinn was an assistant coach on a Tri-Cities Americans team that underwent a change of ownership.
Under new leadership, the team became the Giants and the roster received an overhaul.
As Quinn remembers, the organization was “pretty much built from the ground up.”
But after one losing season, the team made the playoffs, a turnaround he hopes will be repeated in Bremerton.
“We just kept building and building and building,” he said.
Quinn and the 17 rookies aren’t the only new additions to the team.
On the ice, Quinn expects productive seasons from captain Chris Videto, forwards Mitch Wilson and Jake McMullen and defenders Aaron Ward and Blair Johnson.
“Everybody is pretty confident,” Quinn said. “Now they just need to execute.”