Dear 67’s fans,
I just want to thank you for being with us on what was an incredible ride this season. Many of you have reached out to see if the coaches and players are OK given what happened and we thank you for that as well. It’s still early in the process but I can tell you we will be OK. Like everybody, we just want to get through this, stay healthy and get back to playing hockey as soon as we can.
We did a video conference call with all the players after the announcement that the playoffs were canceled to explain the situation, let them know we’re proud of them and that we’re here for them. That was a tough call. A lot of guys will never wear the barber pole jersey again and never have another chance to compete for the Memorial Cup. They deserved more. It’s heartbreaking.
We’ll be back in touch with the players this week doing exit interviews on video. Hopefully, we’ll all have a chance to get together for a face-to-face year-end event but it’s impossible to say right now…we have to stay self-isolated like everybody else.
Graduating players like Mitch Hoelscher and Kevin Bahl…they know they’ll be playing pro next season. But some guys, they’re at an intersection … they don’t know which way they’ll be turning. Even Noel Hoefenmayer and Austin Keating are in that category. I deeply feel for those guys and everybody who’s graduating without a pro contract in place. Some will be pros but some might have reached the end of the line.
Heading into this season, we graduated a lot of veteran players, so we didn’t know for sure how good we could be. But everybody pushed together. Our veteran leadership group was fantastic. They made the young guys feel comfortable and needed, and they led by example … working hard, focusing on the process and playing as a team. Everybody really showed commitment and that made them a fun team to coach.
– André Tourigny
Stay tuned for A Note From Bear Part 2: Looking Back, Moving Forward, which will be released on Thursday.