This offseason has been a welcoming and a pleasant one for the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have chosen their new head coach, great priority selection draft, had a player been drafted to the NHL (Cole Candella), several key players landed gigs at NHL summer camps, and a rookie orientation camp.
Strong draft with character
The Bulldogs had a great showing on draft day. They picked Connor Roberts from the Grey-Bruce Highlanders of NOHA midget level. Furthermore, they selected a great, physical character player willing to help the team right now. Roberts drafted by the Bulldogs headlined a great draft by the team. They continued to bulk up with characterized, physical forwards and a couple of defensemen. Future has never been more bright in Steeltown. The team also drafted another strong forward Marian Studenic from Slovenia. He, like Roberts, is a good scorer with strong upside.
Rookie Orientation Camp
It was a very impressive orientation camp for rookies matching up with second year veterans. Key draftees in forward Connor Roberts and defenceman Riley McCourt established their presence as they put out strong performances. It should be a strong and a gutsy training camp as there are limited amount of spots available.
New Head Coach
In mid-spring, George Burnett was relieved of his duties as general manager and head coach. President Steve Staios self appointed the role of general manager. His focus and determination regarding the search for the next head coach was not to be ignored. Hundreds of applications were submitted and verified by the administrators of the hockey club. It wasn’t until June when the Bulldogs settled on a former NHL defenceman and Flint Firebirds head coach John Gruden. Gruden is a respected coach in the junior ranks, going back to his days at high school and US hockey national talent development program. Furthermore, he coached Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel while as an assistant at the USNTDP. Gruden also comes to Hamilton with great things to prove as he was, twice unjustly fired by the Flint owner last season. Also in the mix was the resigning of Troy Smith, Ron Wilson, and the new hiring of Vince Laise. Laise comes to Hamilton after a solid three years as an assistant head coach in Erie with the Otters organization.
Candella drafted to the NHL, key cogs landed NHL gigs
In the recent NHL draft, Vancouver Canucks drafted defenceman Cole Candella. This is the very first time in history of the Bulldogs franchise that a player on the team has been drafted to the NHL. In addition, Niki Petti, Brandon Saigeon, Connor Hicks, and Benjamin Gleason have been heading to NHL summer camps.