Saturday, May 16, 2009

And, Congratulations Cyclones

For last nights post-game entry, I was obliged to give appropriate, sportsman-like cudos to the Stingrays on their victory.

But today, I salute the Cyclones: the players, coaches, support staff, and administration on what was still a terrific season. I think we all appreciate this team; we are very lucky.

Let's recap. After winning the Kelly Cup last year, the team was basically gutted. Some players got promoted and others became the high-dollar players on other teams at this level. I don't remember the exact number, but only 6 or 7 returned from last year. With McElroy and Syroczynski injured, only Barret Ehgoetz remained in this final series. So, basically it was a total rebuild.

We all remember the slow start to the season, and the somewhat shaky goaltending. No offense to Lacasse and Gajewsky, they are young and developing. Lacasse really improved and matured quickly this season. We had the revolving door of second goalies for a while, before settling in with Nie.

Despite all the hardships and challenges thrown at this team, they kept coming back. It's amazing that after the slow start they came back to earn a record of 42-26-2-3 for a .604 record - good enough to take the North Division title again.

Then they battled on, winning the division in the playoffs, proving they truly deserved it. They played South Carolina with their heads held high. I'm proud of the work they did and proud to have been a part of it.

Coaches Weber and Stork lead the charge. Somehow, they managed to be adaptable strategists and leaders, pulling the ever-changing and ever-challenged roster together. Somehow, they always got more out of the players than might be expected. I'm reminded of that old saying about the total being better than the sum of the parts. That's what this team did all year.

From the icemaking standpoint, we had a really good year. We had no oddball problems with the Zamboni, which is really good. I've mentioned before how the working life of a Zamboni is so hard because they are always worked at maximum output. The chiller plant held tough all year as well. We had a few rough weeks when one of the hot water boilers went out and we had to resurface with cold water; but besides that everything ran smoothly.

The players from other teams almost always had kind words about the ice, the arena, and the way they are treated in Cincinnati.

All in all, this year was a success. How can it be anything else? There can be only one leaguechampion each year, but this team are champs in our hearts.

Cheers also go out to all the fans. Average attendance this year was 3104 per game - a huge increase of 68% over the 1844 per game in 2006-07. But it was more than just numbers. Cyclones fans know the game, know the team, and are consistently supportive, loud, and dedicated.

The team has earned the support - and the fans have responded by giving it.

Hugs all around! Thanks players! Thanks coaches! Thanks US Bank Arena and Nederlander!

2009-10 is just around the corner. Budget now, buy season tickets. Continue to support Cyclones hockey, please!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home