There is a whole lot of white noise surrounding the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves these days.
To the players that have committed to the local Great North Midget League team, it matters very little. They have more important pursuits on their minds.
"I think we've got a little ways to go, but we'll be there," said returning forward Parker Savard, just back from his first OHL training camp with the Sudbury Wolves. "By the Telus Cup, we'll definitely be able to play with every team that is there."
Already with a full season of experience under the tutelage of long-time Caps coach Peter Michelutti Jr., Savard likely has a better grasp than most of where the early season focus is likely to lie in practice and game situations.
"The little things, the battles at the blue lines, getting pucks in deep, forcing teams to play in their end," he said. "Playing in your own end is not fun, of course it's not. I think we are still going to be able to compete in the league. We want to win the league.
"We're going to have to capitalize on our chances more," Savard continued. "Last year, we didn't really capitalize as much as we should have."
Veteran Mathieu Dokis-Dupuis will have a solid offensive base to build upon, finishing sixth in league scoring last year with 24 goals and 33 assists in 30 games.
"I would like to continue being a leader out there, making sure everyone is ready to go, night in and night out," said Dokis-Dupuis. "As far as my personal game, I would like to increase my points, work on my game, develop so that next year, I can move on to the next level."
Dokis-Dupuis will have to be patient, in terms of point production, as he is still recovering from wrist surgery and not likely to be in the Sudbury lineup until perhaps the end of September visit his team will make to Sault Ste. Marie.
While the Nickel Capital Wolves have welcomed the return of the likes of both Savard and Dokis-Dupuis, there is little doubt that there was hope the attraction of hosting the 2018 Telus Cup might lead to an even more veteran-laden lineup than the one which participated in the Central Region Midget "AAA" Championships last spring.
"We have a few players returning," said Dokis-Dupuis. "I would have liked to see a few more return, but that's what happens. It would still be nice to win the OHFs and earn our way there, but we know where we're going to be at the end of the year."
The Sudbury midgets will open play Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Gerry McCrory Sports Complex with a roster that features:
- Alex Vendette
- Deric Rivet
- Joel Mongeon
- Chris Clark
- Tyler Maki
- P.J. Nykilchuk
- Michael Laliberté
- Mathieu Dokis-Dupuis
- Parker Savard
- Tommy Vlahos
- Hunter Chiblow
- Alexander Fowke
- Carson McMillan
- Joe Mazur
- Brett Shawana
- Adam Bertrand
- Brett McGlade