WeWantACup Live @ Ricoh
WeWantACup Live @ Ricoh
On Saturday morning the Toronto Marlies took to the ice at Ricoh Coliseum for an open practice. The gathering saw the Marlies camp invitees, fresh off some tough physical testing
in the days prior, divided into two skating groups.
Fortunately, thanks to the help of Ian Meagher (Coordinator, Media Relations) and Michael Cosentino (Director, Business Operations), both myself and Dante Martella were able to take in the day’s festivities and get some great audio from a couple of the interviews carried out by the media. We look forward to working with Ian and Michael in the coming months, so stay tuned for Marlies media coverage!
As seasons ticket holders and their families began to flow in, it was clear that the buzz for Marlies hockey was back and that the fans were ready for another exciting - and hopefully long - AHL season. The day started with the first on-ice session, consisting of the likes of Jake Gardiner, Jerry D’Amigo, Leo Komarov, Mike Kostka, Ben Scrivens and Korbinian Holzer to name a few, taking to the ice for a number of different drills. The practice varied from basic break out drills to odd man rushes going in both directions to a culminating skating drill that saw the Marlies practicing their stops and starts between the hash marks and the goal line.
What became evident early were not only the varying degrees of size, with the likes of Andrew Engelage, Joe Colborne and Mark Frasor dwarfing many of the younger players both in height and bulk but also the break neck speed that some players have shown up with… Nobody could keep up with D’Amigo.
As the first session finished out though, and throngs of fans were allowed entry for the second practice, the attitude among the players remained focused as the first group took to dry land training within minutes of the start of the second session. Made clear in newcomer Mike Kostka’s interview, was that while a business-like attitude was certainly present within the organization, his personal transition was facilitated by the friendly atmosphere integrated within MLSE (a theme that was on display all day).
It’s been real easy [the transition]. People around here are amazing. The whole organization, top to bottom, it’s the best organization I’ve been in in terms of the way they operate and everything so it’s been really easy.”
It was after all, Mike Kostka, just a few short months ago, whose harmless dump-in deflected off a stanchion and into an empty net while Ben Scrivens watched helplessly behind his crease in overtime of game three in the Calder Cup Finals. It was Mike Kostka who put the nail in the Marlies coffin but once again that friendly, welcoming attitude percolated through.
“Dallas to start practice today brought us all around centre ice, he gave me a puck and he told me he wanted me to shoot the puck off the stanchion and into the net. I told him I couldn’t do it.” Mike said, with a smile and a chuckle.
Greg Scott certainly hadn’t forgotten the goal either, as he was on the ice but all seems to be forgotten and a new season remains the focus.
“I gave him a couple dirty looks when he walked in the door” Greg said jokingly, “I was coming at him during the play and he went to dump it in… Well we all know the story but he’s on our team now so maybe he can get lucky goals and do that for us.”
After the second squad took to the ice for another practice with coach Dallas Eakins and the Marlies staff (including new goalie coach Rick St. Croix), and watched closely by Dave Poulin, Randy Carlyle and Cliff Fletcher the crowd was informed to stick around for a special announcement. Michael Cosentino, joined by Jon Abbott and Dave Poulin, would provide some words of encouragement and thanks for some fans, en route to unveiling the Marlies new third jersey (to be worn at every Sunday home game as well as at family day). The new jersey, accompanied by tweaks to the Marlies home and away jerseys, features a vintage white sleeve with blue shoulders that extend to the gloves (similar to the Leafs jerses from the 80s), neatly accompanied by a throw-back crest. A real crisp look that is sure to be a crowd pleaser, as is the team…at least that’s what we’re all expecting after a wonderful run last year. With an NHL-lockout showing no signs of imminent resolve, the Marlies are set to take centre stage in TO. We’re ready to cover the Marlies, and hope that the fans are ready to follow them.