Last season was a rough go for the Battlefords AAA Sharks, but with training camp taking place this weekend, new Head Coach Gary Berggren is convinced this year will be different.
“We’ve had a lot of struggles over here in Battleford for a number of years now and I think this is the year that we’re really going to turn things around,” Berggren said on Friday afternoon. “I think this team potentially could be one of the best Shark teams we’ve ever had.”
Last season, the Sharks finished last in the eight-team Saskatchewan Female AAA Hockey League with a 3-23-0 record, while managing a league-low 42 goals in 28 games.
Berggren said the team didn’t do well in one-goal games, but that the biggest thing was a talent gap between the Sharks and other teams in the league. This year, that shouldn’t be the case.
“We had to work for everything that we got last year,” Berggren said. “This year, by going younger, we will have more talent and hopefully that will push us towards more wins.”
Even though the team is expected to be younger, camp operations won’t change. Berggren emphasized that every player, whether they make the team or not, will receive feedback from the coaches over the course of the weekend. The plan is to hold skill sessions and four games on the Saturday, followed by fitness testing, more scrimmages and then an inter-squad game on Sunday.
Sixty-one players have signed up for the fall camp, up significantly from the roughly 45 that attended last year. This past April, 70 players attended the Sharks spring camp.
As for season expectations, Berggren said 15 wins shouldn’t be out of the question.
“Being young, we’re going to obviously try to get better every day,” he said. “But in saying that, I think that we like to set the bar high and I think that we can be a number four or number five team in the league.
“When you have youth, you have a lot of girls that really want to go and get it and a lot of enthusiasm, and I think that’s going to be a big difference from last year.”
Nathan Kanter is battlefordsNOW’s sports reporter and voice of the Battlefords North Stars. He can be reached at Nathan.firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him @NathanKanter11
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