The Dalhousie Tiger’s men’s hockey team hosted their first inaugural fundraising dinner on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 24 at the Dalhousie University Club.
“We decided as a team to get together with a dinner so hopefully if tonight goes well we will do it again every year,” said guest speaker, former manager, and alumni member Charles “Chuck” Wheeler.
“It all goes back to fundraising and to help the team gets extra money.”
The evening was full of laughs and old stories. It included a nice dinner for the sponsors, alumni, and even the 2015 -2016 Dalhousie Tigers in attendance. Head coach Chris Donnelly officially announced the roster for this year’s team during the event.
Assistant Coach Brad Crossley likes what he sees from this year’s team.
“I think we certainly upgraded our talent level,” said Crossley. “We’re bigger, we’re stronger, we’re faster, but more than anything we have good people. There are good kids in the room, they are excellent student athletes and they care about the direction our program is going in.”
The Tiger’s missed the playoffs last year. However, Crossley believes the team can reach the playoffs this year.
“We want to make it every year,” said Crossley. “I think this year in particular with the personnel we have and the attitude I think we are destined to be in the playoffs and knock down some doors.”
One of the three Tigers leading scorers last year Fabian Walsh also believes the team has improved during the off season and is ready to contend for the playoffs.
“We’re bigger, quicker, we got some more skill this year,” said Walsh. “The young guys that we brought in are all really good players. We got all the right pieces. Our goal is to make the playoffs and once that happens anything can happen from there.”
As the team will be trying to put together a winning season and get into the playoffs. One Alumni member Darrell Young knows what it takes for the team to have success. Young has had success as both a player and a coach. He won the AUS championship in 1979 as a goalie, and owns the school record for most wins won by a coach. He feels the team is headed in the right direction to be a contending team in a few years.
“It takes time,” said Young. “It doesn’t happen over night.”
One thing Young sees already that shows him that this team is going in the right direction is the high level of players the Tigers have been able to recruit. This past season the Tigers were able to recruit four major junior hockey players to the program.
“Coach Chris Donnelly has emphasized to get top student athletes here,” said Young. “It’s not an easy place to recruit because of the academic requirements and the financial burden of coming to a school like Dalhousie. We have a strong community and strong support from the Alumni, and if we build the hockey school close to where is in this past that gives us extra revenue. I think that gives [Donnelly] the ability to recruit top student athletes. I think he is doing it now.”
Only time will tell if the optimism shown at the dinner will translate to wins on the ice.
“I think we are going in the right direction,” said Crossley.