For the past three seasons the Halifax Mooseheads have been building towards something special in hopes of hosting and hoisting junior hockey’s most covenanted prize, the Memorial Cup. With a new Head Coach at the helm and all the pieces of the puzzle in place, the Halifax Mooseheads’ championship aspirations could become reality next May.
Despite the Mooseheads finishing at the top of the standings, they will be getting a new head coach for the third time in three years. What does the arrival of Éric Veilleux mean for the franchise?
“If you look at Éric’s background, he’s coached in the league for nine or ten years. Plus, he’s been in the situation where he was the head coach of a team that hosted a Memorial Cup”, said Mooseheads General Manager, Cam Russell.
“Éric understands the highs and lows of going along with a season like that. He’s won a Memorial Cup, plus he’s coached three years at the pro level. I think his resume speaks for itself,” Russell added. “He’s a great teacher and motivator and I think he’s a coach that will get the most out of all of our players.”
All eyes are on the Mooseheads who will be hosting the next Memorial Cup tournament. How will the players manage the pressure that comes with all that attention?
“These kids, it’s not solely up to them. I think it’s our job is to manage the expectations and stress that go along with hosting the Memorial Cup”, explained Russell. “We have to very patient, it’s going to be a long season. We know we are going to be playing to the end of May.”
“You can’t win the Memorial Cup in September or November, so it’s going to be a season where we have to keep the expectations in check”, added Halifax’s general manager. “There’s a lot of great teams in our league and even in our division. We will make sure that’s it’s a team effort to manage all that.”
With the arrival of Memorial Cup champions such as Morand and Maher, how will those players be able to help guide Halifax to another championship?
“The more experience, the better. You have two players in Morand and Maher that have been through the process of playing hockey to the end of May”, Russell said. “We are fortunate that they won the Memorial Cup and that they know what it takes to get there and accomplish that goal.”
“Both Antoine and Jordan have been great leaders for us in camp so far and two of the hardest working players in practice. So other guys look at them every day and see how hard they work and what they have accomplished. It’s contagious”, explained Russell.