Gerard Morry admits there were a couple of occasions where he wondered if it was him doing something wrong as his young players struggled to compete on the provincial level.
The losses were piling up and he wondered if there was something he could try to turn things around.
But, when he got home from the rink he realized he had a good group of young players to help develop and saw improvement in them from the start of the season so he figured he would remain committed to the challenge.
“If I quit on them what’s that going to do? So, I’m in it for the long haul,” Morry said Tuesday when asked about his team’s struggles to compete on the provincial scene.
Morry’s Western Kings sit in the cellar of the provincial AAA peewee hockey league with a record of one win and 10 losses, 14 points out of a playoff spot with a team that has given up 185 more goals than they have scored in 20 games at the Christmas break.
Morry didn’t want to make any excuses for the poor record at the break. He was more interested in pointing out some of the challenges that come with west teams competing with the best on the east coast.
The sheer volume of players available in a AAA peewee pool pales in comparison when looking at the numbers on the west coast versus St. John’s. He had 16 players come out to tryouts for his team and he didn’t have to break any hearts by cutting anybody, while on the east coast the St. John’s Hitmen and TriCom Thunder — the two powerhouses in the league — literally select their rosters from dozens and dozens of players.
“Just the competition level kind of puts you at a disadvantage to begin with,” he said.
The other big thing he wants people to keep in mind is the huge difference in players in their first year of peewee versus a player in his second season.
His Kings roster has one roster goalie, who is in his first season, and two affiliated puckstoppers who are also rookies. Throw in a defence corps that is mostly rookies and Morry has a group of guys who will need to adjust to the pace and speed of the game at the AAA level.
He has seen his team make strides to be competitive with two of the teams — the Central Ice Pak and TriPen Ice — since the season started so when he sees improvement he can only stay focused on helping his players develop their individual skillset and get caught up to the speed the game is played at.
He has a good group of guys who work hard and haven’t shown any signs of wanting to throw in the towel so he’s going to remain positive knowing every player will be better off because of the experience at the end of the day.
There are a number of players who many people believe could have helped the team if they decided to attend the tryouts and Morry isn’t lost on that fact.
He doesn’t knock on doors or ask questions about why somebody isn’t interested in playing. He knows some parents feel they can’t afford the program or have time for it, and then there are some players who just don’t to play, but his focus is on working with the ones who wanted to play.
But, he is quick to point out he would be kidding himself and others to think the Kings could compete with the top two teams in the league without having the best players on the west coast available to him and that’s by no means a show of disrespect for the great group of guys who work hard every time they show up to the rink.
“We’re closing the gap, but the reality is to be at the table with those guys we need the top-end players on the west coast to come try out and even then you’ve got to play to your best all the time,” he said.