The Paris Mounties kicked off the season with three straight losses, but the team isn’t letting their start slow them down.
The club’s president and general manager, Todd Wood, said the team has maintained their competitive energy throughout the losses.
“We expected to get off to a little bit of a slow start, and I think through the losses we’ve been more than competitive,” he said. “A couple of bad bounces and late goals, things that are typical for a younger team, have cost us but these are all things to learn from.”
Wood said that he put together a very young team and that a number of players are playing junior hockey for the first time.
“A lot of these guys are coming out of minor hockey, so they’re still adjusting to the pace,” he said. “I’m very excited about the team that we have, the guys are starting to get our systems down and I definitely expect better things moving forward.”
The Mounties returned to the Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) this season after a brief, two-year hiatus. The organization built a brand new roster from the ground up and Wood said that it was important to load the roster with young talent.
“It was definitely the plan to put together a younger team for the simple fact that it’s our first year back,” he said. “Trying to bring in a lot of older players, that maybe come off of other rosters, we would only have them for a year, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. We wanted to go younger to be able to develop the players to be here for two or three years or move up to higher levels.”
Development is a crucial aspect of the Mounties organization, with an experienced coaching staff and connections with local Junior B teams to provide players opportunities to grow and move up.
In the meantime, the team is working on being better together to continue to compete within the PJHL.
“The energy in the room is great, these guys are excited to be Paris Mounties,” Wood said. “The guys understand what they need to do to get better. They’re excited to work hard to continue to improve as a team. It’s a 42 game season, so we have a lot of time ahead of us to get better and end up in the position we want to be in when the playoffs roll around.”
Wood said that captain Finn Larmer has been a great leader to the team as they iron out the kinks.
“Naming Finn captain was probably the easiest decision we’ve made,” Wood said. “Late summer and into the fall, he really stepped in and really took charge as a leader in the room. He has a couple of years of Junior B experience so he knows what it takes to get to and play at that higher level.”
The team opened their season on September 16, with over 400 fans in attendance.
“The excitement from the community is in the air, which is fantastic,” Wood said. “It’s important that we keep it going. The team, especially the younger guys, thrive off of that energy in the crowd.”
The Mounties are in Woodstock to face off against the Navy-Vets on Friday, September 30. They host the New Hamburg Firebirds at the Brant Sports Complex on Saturday, October 1.