After missing the playoffs last year the Gananoque Junior C Islanders promised their fans that changes would be made.
So far, they’ve kept that promise.
The Islanders are off to a solid start in the Tod Division of the Provincial League. They’re undefeated after six games with four wins and a couple of ties.
“Other teams might be surprised, but we’re not,” said Nick Maillet, the Islanders’ newly-appointed captain.
The 20-year-old Kingston native, who is now in his fourth season with the Islanders, says he likes what he sees in this year’s team.
“There’s a different attitude on this year’s club,” says Maillet.
“It’s the best start we’ve had in years. Everybody plays a role and they’ve been playing it well. Our goal is to make the playoffs and then we’ll see what happens from there.”
WATCH: (Sept. 11, 2019) The Gananoque Junior C Islanders have prepared hard for the season ahead
Maillet was caught off guard when coaches Brian Begbie and Brandon Nadeau called him into their office and announced he was the team’s new captain.
“I really appreciate the coaches and the team for selecting me,” added Maillet, who recently graduated from the firefighters’ program at St. Lawrence College.
“I promised the boys I’m there to help out in anyway I can. I believe strongly in leading by example and I plan to do my best both on and off the ice. It’s a privilege to wear the ‘C’ and I don’t plan on letting the guys down.”
The Islanders are off to a strong start because of their attention to detail, especially on defence.
“We’ve got two fantastic goaltenders in Jeremy Piazzi and rookie Brandon Heaslip,” continued Maillet.
“Our defence is leading the way. We’ve got a solid ‘D’ with the likes of Nick Stafford, Will Johnston, Ben Look, Harry Sanders and Tim Morton. Our offence is a work in progress, but I have no doubt we’ll get better as the season wears on.
“Rookie Evan Jamieson is our leading scorer and he’s only 16 years old.”
It’s still early, but the Gananoque Islanders have served notice to the rest of the league that they plan on challenging for one of the four playoff spots.
The Islanders next home game is Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Lou Jeffries Arena against the Campbellford Rebels. Game time is 7.p.m.