EARLY TOURNAMENT GOOD MEASURING STICK FOR JR. COMETS
The Utica Jr. Comets kicked off their 2017-18 game schedule this past weekend, with the 2003-2006 birth year teams taking part in the Canadiens Cup in Toronto, Ontario. While the four teams saw mixed results, the young players built the foundation for the season ahead and had a chance to play against some of the best teams in the world.
“Overall it was a good experience. We played some great teams and had an opportunity to show the talent level of our teams,” said coach Adam Pawlick. Director of the Jr. Comets Bill Horton echoed Pawlick’s statement, “Now we know where we stack up as an area compared to hockey hotbeds such as Detroit and Toronto.”
Both Pawlick and Horton mentioned it was an uphill battle going into the weekend, with many opposing teams being together longer than the Jr. Comets, who have only practiced together four times prior to the weekend. “It was a bit of a learning experience for players and coaches, but now we have a good idea of what we need to work on in order to prepare for our next games,” Horton said. Despite the lack of practice, both coaches felt the weekend was a success.
In the end, what really matters to Horton is player development. “Youth hockey isn’t always about scores and standings. It’s about moving the needle and evolving as players. If a player is better in March than he or she was in September, then we’ve done our jobs.”
Horton also believes that both players and parents are trusting the process. “We want the kids to get better. In the long run, no one is going to ask you how many games you won in peewees. This is our first year as a Tier I AAA program, but everyone’s bought into the Comet Culture.”
The Jr. Comets’ season rolls on this weekend, with the 2003-2005 teams playing home games and the 2006 squad hitting the road for away games.