Barons head coach “shocked” by #4 ranking
Sep 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm in Sports by TheNewsGirl
Fort McMurray Oil Barons head coach Gord Thibodeau says he was “shocked” by his team’s #4 spot in the CJHL Top 20 pre-season rankings.
“When they haven’t seen you play any exhibition games, it’s a little bit surprising,” the coach said.”I certainly don’t put a lot of faith in them.”
That said, he wasn’t about to reject the friendly evaluation by league brass.
“It’s good that their expectations are high – it puts some pressure on you. But overall, whether you’re fourth or one hundredth at this stage, it doesn’t really matter,” said Thibodeau.
The Barons were the highest ranked Alberta team, ahead of the Spruce Grove Saints at #8, the Okotoks Oilers at #16, and the Lloydminster Bobcats who received an honourable mention.
Thibodeau says he expects another tight year in the AJHL.
“A lot of veteran teams in the North division,” said Thibodeau, singling out the Drayton Valley Thunder, Bonnyville Pontiacs, Lloydminster Bobcats, and Spruce Grove Saints.
“Like any other year, it’s going to be a tough division to win.”
After his team’s trip to Russia, Thibodeau said they’ll take a couple of days off before returning to practice on Friday night.
“The key thing we’re looking at is trying to get three or four days away from the rink,” Thibodeau explained. “Guys can catch up on their sleep patterns and visit their family.”
“Hopefully get back to work Friday night and prep ourselves for Okotoks.”
The Barons open the 2011-12 season on September 16th at 8pm at the Casman Centre.