Abram-Village-based team has gone 6-4 in last 10 games
CHARLOTTETOWN – Arsenault’s Fish Mart Western Red Wings head coach Greg Rivard describes his team’s progress this season as a “work in progress.”
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Rivard took over the Island Junior Hockey League club in early November after 1-6-1 (won-lost-overtime/shootout losses) start to the regular season. The Red Wings, who won six of their first eight games under Rivard, have dropped their last two to fall to 6-4 in their last 10.
“There’s a ton of talent in that dressing room, and sometimes I think it’s confidence,” said Rivard in a phone interview with the Journal Pioneer on Monday. “Once the confidence level starts to peak, the team will play much better.
“It’s not like the team is playing bad. . . it was a slow start to the season, and the guys are slowly turning things around.”
The Red Wings will face a tough test on Thursday, when they visit the league-leading and arch-rival Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers in the annual Boxing Day matinee. Game time at Community Gardens is 2 p.m.
“Me, personally, I’m looking forward to it,” said Rivard, who will be coaching in his first Boxing Day contest. “What I’ve heard from previous stories is they are heated battles.
“The thing for the Red Wings is we don’t need any added ammunition against Ktown. It is always a heated a rivalry as (Vipers owner) Pat McIver has pointed out (on the IJHL) website. . . I expect a fierce battle between two very good hockey teams.”
“Me, personally, I’m looking forward to it. What I’ve heard from previous stories is they are heated battles. The thing for the Red Wings is we don’t need any added ammunition against Ktown. It is always a heated a rivalry as (Vipers owner) Pat McIver has pointed out (on the IJHL) website. . . I expect a fierce battle between two very good hockey teams.” Red Wings head coach Greg Rivard
Rivard said work commitments have prevented the Red Wings from having a full roster for most of the season, but he added with some players home for the Christmas holidays a full roster will be dressed on Thursday.
Rivard said his No. 1 priority after taking over the Abram-Village-based Red Wings was to earn the trust of his players.
“That’s the biggest thing,” he emphasized. “It’s like I explained to my assistant coach (Jackie Ray Bernard) when I first got there, I said, ‘You just can’t tell the guys to work hard, it’s a process. Once you earn the players’ trust and respect they will just work hard for you.’
“That was the big turnaround. There’s a great group of young men in that room. I am enjoying it thoroughly, but it takes a little time.
“Overall, we are progressing nicely. We’ve had a bump in the road the last two games, but we haven’t had a full roster either.”