Pembroke Lumber Kings prepare for home opener Sunday 0
Pembroke Lumber Kings coach and general manager Sheldon Keefe draws out plays as the players look on during practice Friday at the Pembroke Memorial Centre. This marked the Kings first time on the ice at the PMC after spending the pre-season at the Pembroke and Area Community Centre. The Kings' home opener goes Sunday night.
The Pembroke Lumber Kings returned to the friendly confines of the Pembroke Memorial Centre Friday, hitting the ice for practice just in time to get ready for Sunday night’s home opener.
Being back at the PMC makes things much easier logistically and more comfortable for the coaching staff and players, according to the team’s head coach and general manager Sheldon Keefe.
“It’s very exciting to be home,” he said before practice. “It definitely feels good to be back after a month over at the other arena.”
He is also feeling a sense of excitement from the players whether it is their first time in the league or their first time in the home dressing room after being a visitor.
“This building has a lot of atmosphere and history and the players understand that,” Keefe added.
After starting the season with three games on the road, with a pair of wins and a loss, he is looking forward to the home opener as players will have their moment in the spotlight, as each will be announced individually and have an opportunity to skate out onto the ice from the entrance at the west end of the building.
“It adds to the mystique and everyone gets his own moment,” the coach said. “It provides some recognition and creates a connection between the players and the fans.”
He is also looking for the players to come up with a big response Sunday night after dropping a 6-2 decision to the defending league champion Nepean Raiders on the road Wednesday night. In the game the Kings’ did a poor job defensively and took too many penalties which they weren’t able to defend against, according to the coach.
Calling the Nepean forwards the most dynamic in the league, Keefe said if teams don’t play perfect defensively against the Raiders it is easy to get into trouble.
“They were too much for us to handle and our inexperience really showed through in that game,” he said.
Although he was not thrilled with the outcome of the game, he felt there were some positive to be taken away and lessons to be learned.
“If we stick with it we will get better each game and if we learn from our mistakes we will make distinct improvements along the way,” he added. “I think we have a good group that is willing to listen and learn so we’re going to turn it up Sunday with the home opener.”
After a light skate on Thursday, Keefe and assistant coach Scott Mohns put the players with a number of drills yesterday and they take to the ice again today to continue fine tune things in preparation for the home opener.
Game time Sunday night is 7 p.m. when the Kings face the Gloucester Rangers.
Tina Peplinskie is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist