Sylvan Lake’s new junior hockey team has announced it’s coaching staff for the upcoming 2019-2020 season.
Pat Garritty has been appointed head coach of the Sylvan Lake Wranglers for the team’s inaugural season in the Heritage Junior Hockey League (HJHL).
“We’ve never had a team of this caliber in Sylvan Lake before and being a Sylvan Laker and [having] coached inside the minor hockey for a long time I just think it’s a great opportunity for the community and me personally,” said Garritty of his new team.
Garritty was the coach of the West Central Midget AA Tigers and says even though some of the best memories of his life have come from his time coaching minor hockey, he decided to step away to give someone else that opportunity.
On the bench he will be joined by assistant coaches Bryce Campbell and Karson French, who have both played in and won Western Canada championships in the HJHL.
“I’m really excited about the coaching staff that we’ve put together,” said Garritty. “To have that kind of pedigree behind the bench is going to do nothing but benefit the players and the program.”
“To have their commitments and their enthusiasm it’s humbling and we’re certainly looking forward to the opportunity,” he added.
Garritty says coaching the Wranglers will have the same challenges as any other team — making sure they have the best players, assuring the players are all on the same page and that they are working towards a common goal.
He says the HJHL is a competitive league and every team is trying to win.
“They’re trying to do their job as best as they can to make sure they’re ahead of you, so you have to make sure that you just keep focused on the job at hand,” explained Garritty.
The goal this year is to make playoffs and continue to go from there.
Garritty says they need to build the program in it’s new community, start relationships and be a part of Sylvan Lake, an aspect he considers to be important for any junior team.
“I just think it’s going to be fun building our identity in the community… creating an atmosphere that’s affordable to everyone to come watch and the product on the ice is going to be competitive and it’s just building the program,” said Garritty.
He added they want to approach every game knowing the Wranglers have an opportunity to win, and that they have the right kids on the team with the right attitude moving forward.
The HJHL has a long history and showcases good players who want to do their best.
“I’ve seen some incredible games played a this level,” said Garritty. “It’s going to be real good hockey.”
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