The new head coach of the Sudbury Wolves is eager for this team to face off against their Eastern Conference rivals, the Peterborough Petes, on Oct. 8.
Craig Duncanson said it has been between 500 and 600 days since these young men have played a league-sanctioned game, other than the pre-season games they have played.
“We are all pretty excited about it,” Duncanson said in an interview with Nick Liard of Sudbury radio station 92.7.
The Wolves have named Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Jack Thompson as the captain for the 2021-22 season. Thompson will be joined in the leadership group by assistant captains New Jersey Devils prospect Chase Stillman, overage defenceman Liam Ross and sophomore defenceman Nathan Ribau.
Thompson is a premier player and the class of the league as far as defencemen are concerned, said a news release from the Wolves organization.
Duncanson described Thompson as a “tireless worker” who showed up to training camp in phenomenal shape.
“Jack stands out as a man who practises like a pro, who takes great pride in his craft on and off the ice, in every practice and every game,” said Duncanson. “It’s a real credit to Jack because he stands out amongst a group of exceptional leaders. Not only do all four of these players lead by example, they fulfill our commitment to being gentlemen of character and integrity.”
Thompson was selected by the Wolves in the second round of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. He picked up 32 points from the blue-line in the last Wolves season back in 2019-20, doubling his point totals from his rookie year.
“I am very honoured to be named captain,” Thompson said in a news release. “It’s a historic franchise and to have my name on that list is a huge honour. I can’t thank my current teammates, past teammates, coaches and the training staff enough for all their support. I am looking forward to getting things started this Friday and to see all the fans in the building.”
New faces to the Pack include 2020 and 2021 first-round draft picks David Goyette and Quentin Musty. They are set to make their regular season debuts.
“Musty has been outstanding,” said Duncanson. “He and David Goyet are world-class hockey players in their age group. They take a very professional approach to the game, and they have had exposure to world-class competition.”
Their skills will help make a young team competitive, he said.
“We have an exceptionally talented young group with a lot of speed and a lot of skill up front and on the blue-line,” Duncanson said. “We are fast, very skilled, and the team seems very willing and open to pushing the pace and learning new things about the game.”
Duncanson said he knows full well there is a lot of work to do, though.
“We will have growing pains, but I believe this team has a lot of potential to get on a roll and win,” he said. “We also have the potential where we might find ourselves facing a little bit of adversity, because it is such a young team.”
Duncanson said he’s excited to be back with the Pack. He played 136 regular season games with the Wolves between 1983 and 1986, recording 85 goals and 83 assists for 168 points. He was named captain of the Wolves for the 1984-85 season.
He said he has very fond memories of his playing days with the Wolves.
“I’m one of the few guys left in the organization that was part of the Green Wolves (referencing the team’s jersey colours when he played),” he said. “I am really excited about my inauguration as a member of the Pack with these colours. I have always been a proud Wolves alumni, and I still am.”
Just prior to puck drop on Friday, the Wolves will raise their 2019-20 Central Division Championship banner to the rafters.
A vaccination policy is in effect. Fans will be required to show their vaccine receipt from their second dose, along with photo ID, upon entrance with their ticket. Fans must be fully vaccinated for a minimum of 14 days. Unvaccinated youth 11 and under must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult in order to gain entry.
In advance of Friday’s home opener, the Sudbury Wolves, in partnership with the Sudbury Community Arena, has compiled a list of tips to help make it easier to watch the game:
- Tickets are the same price online as in the box office. Purchase online at GreaterSudbury.ca/tickets;
- Although capacity has increased, we still have limited seating capacity, so don’t miss out on all the action and buy your tickets early;
- Contact tracing is mandatory when buying tickets and takes time when doing it at the box office, so save time and go online or stop by the box office earlier in the week;
- Vaccine verification is required for those 12 and up. Arrive early to get screened and have your photo ID and Proof of vaccination ready. Kids 11 and under must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult. Doors will open at 5:50pm.;
- Bring a spare mask in case yours gets dirty, broken, or lost;
- Need assistance with your tickets – call or stop by the box office a few days before the game, and;
- Socially distanced pods are available in endzone seating, based on availability. Click here for info on socially distanced pods.
For a full list of COVID-19 policies and procedures and arena policies, visit GreaterSudbury.ca/arenapolicies.
-With filed from Nick Liard