That is a wrap on the season for the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.
After a heartbreaking game seven loss in overtime against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, head coach Brad Tobin and his Creston Thunder Cats look to the future.
“Both teams had their chances there in overtime,” said Tobin.
“It was definitely a tough loss. But to win a playoff round for the first time in six years at Creston is something to look forward to.”
In round one of the playoffs, the Valley Cats proved themselves, taking it four games to one.
The Thunder Cats were moved to the Neil Murdoch division of the KIJHL for the playoffs. Against teams they were not terribly familiar with, the Cats remained almost perfect at home.
“We felt good at home all the time. The crowds kept getting a little bigger and a little bigger as we moved along there, too. It’s drummed up a little more interest in Creston, which is something that I wanted to do, obviously, coming back to Creston.”
The Thunder Cats lost only one game on home ice over the playoffs. Unfortunately, that was enough to send them home.
“It’s something to build on and, yeah, we hope to get out in the community next year a little bit more and start to create the buzz that we’re a team to be reckoned with in the future.”
Taking the first round of the playoffs is certainly a feather in their cap, especially after the somewhat hectic start to the season.
“We had a lot of ups, a lot of downs, and to get this far in that at the start of the season, a lot of people would have said we’re crazy,” remarked Tobin.
“I think the majority of the kids are going to be very hungry to come back and accomplish something next year. So we’re looking forward to it. We’ll have to go out and recruit a few players to bolster the lineup a bit, but we feel really happy with where the team’s at and what direction we’re going.”
The team will be saying goodbye to some of the older players and looking to recruit new ones, something Tobin says Creston is perfect for.
“The facility at the rec center up here is one of the best, I think, in the league. Just recruiting-wise, we have everything that we need up here. A gym, pool, the ice, everything’s kind of centralized,” said Tobin.
“So we feel that can sway a few recruits this way as well. Some of the players are returning; I think that’s a good recruiting tool as well. Yeah, we’re happy with the direction that we’re going to be heading in.”
Lastly, Tobin thanks all the fans that showed up throughout the season.
“We appreciate you guys. I think we brought them an exciting brand of hockey this year that kind of excited them and brought some more people into the stands that don’t normally come to games in that. We’re hoping that they can drum up more interest for next year and I want to see everybody out next year again.”