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Greyhounds State of the Franchise Address
Anthony Bumbaco for local2 sault ste. marie
September 20th, 2012 at 7:56am
The 2012-2013 OHL regular season officially launched on Wednesday night with the Second Annual State of the Franchise Address and player introductions at the Bondar Pavilion. The event provided season ticket holders and fans the opportunity to be officially introduced to this year’s Greyhounds roster. It also gave the rare chance for fans to ask players and coaching staff questions within an open forum.
The event began on a sad note as general manager Kyle Dubas left a brief statement apologizing to the fans, as he was unable to attend the event due to the death of his grandfather, Walter Dubas on Thursday evening.
Following the statement, each player took to the podium to introduce himself to the fans giving them their first glimpse of this seasons opening day roster roster. Returnees Ryan Sproul, David Broll, goaltender Matt Murray and newcomer Sergei Tolchinsky received the loudest ovations from the fans.
Once player introductions were complete, head coach Mike Stapleton took to the mic and the floor was open to questions.
One of the most popular questions regarded 2nd-round import draft pick Tolchinsky who is noticeably undersized and how he is able to play such a talented game and many fans commented that other players will need to protect the young star.
Another concern of the fans was how the coaching staff would improve upon the team’s goals against this season after being ranked 4th last in that area last season.
“Defense is more than just the responsibility of the six defensemen,” said new defense coach Joe Cirillo. “We will be looking to a much larger team concept of defense, something that me and Mike both agree upon. We have a good group of youth and veteran defenders and I look forward to an exciting year.”
Coach Mike Stapleton added, “We need to be much better with our defensive zone coverage from the goaltender out and to be more consistent with less highs and lows throughout the season.
One of the most humourous moments of the evening came as a fan asked a question directly to Tolchinksy about how he plays with larger opponents and what he thinks of Sault Ste. Marie in comparison to Moscow.
“I like the Soo,” replied Tolchinsky with a giant smile on his face.
Another fan directed a question to 2012-2013 starting goaltender and Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick Matt Murray and if he faced any pressure after finally being given the reigns as the #1 goaltender this season.
I don’t look at it as pressure,” responded Murray. “I look at it as excitement after waiting as a back-up goaltender for the last two seasons.
Lastly, fans were very inquisitive as to who, if anyone, would be named captain of the Hounds for this season.
“We will be going with four assistants this weekend,” said Stapleton. “After the games we will sit down as a staff on Monday or Tuesday and decide which way we want to go.”
The Greyhounds will be continuing to get to know the fans on Thursday with an autograph session taking place at the Station Mall from 5:00-7pm. They will then open the regular season at the Essar Centre against the Plymouth Whalers on Friday night at 7:07pm.