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There’s no place the Tigers would rather be

July 30, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Here’s a question: when you’re taken away from something you love, how much does it affect you?

Probably a lot. It most likely changes you entirely in the short-term.

It’s even worse when you’re anxiously waiting for the go-ahead to get back at it. The body might jitter. The heart might pump faster. The adrenaline just might keep you up at night as the days go by.

After four months of being in the cage, the Aurora Tigers Jr. A hockey club shattered its lock and got back out on the ice. The club has been on the ice for the past month in their JT Prospects camp ahead of this season.

Team governor Jim Thomson says there is nowhere he would rather be.

“At 54, there’s nowhere I would rather be than on the ice and when we got the green light to get back on the ice I was a rejuvenated NHL player. It was funny. Man, did I miss it,” said Thomson.

“For the kids, you can’t imagine the excitement, the emotion and the energy and what’s needed; we’ve been on for four weeks now, the energy levels have not dropped. These kids are excited to play hockey and I think what happens is when you lose something that you love, you really appreciate it differently.”

Returning players, coaching staff, front office and prospects have been suiting up for practice every morning at 7.15 a.m. The club is showing their sincerity towards change, having won just seven games last year.

“Take advantage of your opportunity. Don’t leave any stone unturned. For the Aurora Tigers, my team, everyone is competing for a job. The more you get out of training in the summer and more you develop, the better chance you’re going to have to be on the roster,” Thomson expressed.

Thomson, has been teaching two groups every morning. Now, he will have the chance to teach a full practice because of Stage Three.

His sessions are mainly focused on skills, such as stick handling, lots of skating and skill development. The 15 to 20-year-old players run through a course in some instances leading up to shots on net.

Thomson instructs shots on net and while he gets a charge scoring on these high-level netminders, he says the goaltenders see a surge of energy burst through them when they stop the former NHL winger in his tracks.

After class, Thomson has repeated the same speech to both groups of young men.

“I tell them they make my life better. They make me live through them. I look at them as where I was that student there was a coach in front of me and that was the best time of life. What I tell them every day is the fact that I get to be their coach and teach them. It gives me youth and energy. They’re doing as much for me as I do for them.”

He also reminds his players, to be thankful for the fortunate opportunity of trying out and playing for this team. He says some families cannot have their children on the ice due to financial struggles.

What Thomson is promising to the Town is this upcoming Aurora Tigers roster will be a very different team this upcoming year. From the club’s offence to goaltending, each area has seen vast improvements.

One player in particular who has improved during this break is last year’s assistant captain Trevor Grasby.

“He’s worked extremely hard, built his body up and worked on his shot. He’s come back to us in a different leadership role. He wants to win and it shows in his physique and his hard work this summer.” 

As the NHL begins this Saturday, Thomson also promises that his beloved Edmonton Oilers will make the Stanley Cup Finals this year and Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl will be the league’s MVP.

The Edmonton native said the Oilers will lose against the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I look at the Oilers and when you have McDavid and Draisaitl and these types of players, playing in Edmonton, they have home ice advantage whether there’s fans or not they’re still in their rink. They’re in their beds every night. I feel like they’re going to be the ones to get through it, they’re talented enough.”

The NHL’s return to play series will be hosted by the cities of Edmonton and Toronto.

The playoffs begin with the New York Rangers taking on the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at 12 p.m. followed by the Chicago Blackhawks taking on the Oilers at 3 p.m.

Also, that day, the Florida Panthers play the New York Islanders, the Montreal Canadiens take on the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Winnipeg Jets take on the Calgary Flames.

By Robert Belardi



         

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