The Hazelton Wolverines hosted the Smithers Steelheads on Saturday and fell 9-1 in front of the home town crowd.
The Steelheads came out hard and fast and were the first on the board only minutes into the game. While the goals continued to add up despite solid goaltending from the Hazelton netminder, the penalties also started to become factors in the game. The first period lasted 54 minutes with play being stopped constantly.
It wasn’t until the dying minutes of the third before the Wolverines found the missing brick in the wall and were able to put a point on the board robbing Smithers of the shut out.
For head coach Ray Sturney, the game was frustrating but the outcome was not a surprise as players have not been attending practices on a regular basis, he said.
“When a team doesn’t practice and they play a team that does one expects to get beat up,” he said. “Until they decide to practice we won’t have much of a hockey team. Technically speaking I am the head coach but I have very little to do with the team as I can’t have an effect on players or a team that doesn’t come to practice.”
There are only four regular games left in the season, three of which are away games and Sturney is not hopeful about the playoffs after the season’s dismal practices.
“Their job is to come to practice, playing is the fun part,” he said. “A big night I would see 10 or 11 guys out to practice and I have players that won’t even come out to play let alone practice. You cant teach guys to play hockey at a game, that happens at a practice and if the team came out to 15 or 20 practices they would see a huge improvement but it doesn’t happen in a matter of minutes.”
According to the organizers, a lot of players are lacking the motivation to strive for success.