The Victoria Shamrocks are ready to rock the 2018 season.
There’s been some shake-up with the team over the past season but head coach Bob Heyes, in his seventh season at the helm, is ready to go for another Mann Cup.
“I’m excited to be back, it’s been a long winter,” Heyes said. “I’ve been working hard with the coaches to develop new systems, we’ve got great coaching staff that are always pushing the envelope.”
Heyes said the Shamrocks have the “best fans around,” and that gives the organization even more motivation to be a better team and stay relevant as one of the premiere squads in the league.
The absence of Corey Small, the former Shamrocks captain, means there are some shoes to fill.
Heyes said Jesse King was a great leader when the Shamrocks won the Mann Cup in 2015, and is expecting him to make a huge impact as he returns to the lineup.
Heyes said it was tough to say how things were shaping up with the few practice sessions the Shamrocks have had, because players were still trickling in from their college and pro teams, but he isn’t worried because the talent coming back is high end.
He said the three practices leading up to their first game will be the most important because most of the players will be back. Heyes said the Shamrocks most recent practice was their best one thus far, and he saw a lot of potential.
Rob Hellyer, a product from Lion’s Head, Ont., won’t be running full-time with squad until July, due to Hellyer’s work commitments back east. Heyes said they are going to try to get Hellyer out for some games in June as well. Heyes foresees Hellyer to be a fan favorite and said he will be playing on the right side with Rhys Duch.
The Shamrocks open the season this Friday at home at The Q Centre at 7:30 p.m. against the Burnaby Lakers.