WEST VALLEY CITY — The Utah Grizzles are looking to build on the success they’ve had in past years during the 2016-2017 season. The Grizzles, who clinched a playoff spot last year, finished the season 39-27.
“We have a lot of new players this year,” said head coach and general manager Tim Branham. “For them to come here, see our beautiful city, it’s unbelievable.”
The players have already been through a tough training camp to get them ready for the season.
“Our facilities are tremendous,” said Branham. “The players have already spent time at the practice rink, the Olympic oval, here at the Maverick Center.”
For Grizzlies fans there will be a lot of new faces this year. In the last month alone they’ve made 21 roster moves.
One new player that fans should be excited about is goaltender Kevin Boyle, who is on assignment from the Anaheim Ducks. Boyle, who finished his last two seasons at UMass Lowell, went 42-19-11 with 10 shutouts in 73 games.
The Grizzlies also added two rookie goaltenders for training camp. Ryan McKay out of Miami (Ohio) University and Derick Roy from Northeastern.
“We had a lot of skill last year, and we really dominated teams early, and you could see that on video,” said Branham. “As the season went along teams started traveling through the neutral zone and playing different systems against us because we were so fast.”
Branham said that the struggle they went through during the second half of last season made them a better team and already playing at the playoff level at the start of the season.
He’s said he's excited for this team and the ability that they have. His team finished the preseason 2-0 and was proud of the guys for getting the taste of victory early.
“It brings the boys together and sets the standard of what we want during the season,” said Branham. “We’re very successful here and this year will be no different.”
Carra McManamon is a native of Washington State and is attending the University of Utah. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter: @curramac22