Going 5 Hole with Gord Montgomery – Ringing in the new season…

Ring ceremony a reward for vets, shows rookies what could lie ahead

After their first game of the weekend, another win by the way, the Spruce Grove Saints celebrated the victory in their usual manner in their dressing room. Then, those that suited up for the team last season celebrated their winning of the 2014-15 AJHL title when they received their championship rings.

The rings, the fourth ones handed out to the team’s players, coaches and Board of Directors over the last six years, signified the success this team has enjoyed. Such a reward, this year’s captain Tyler Busch said, means a lot to those on the receiving end.

Busch, who has done nothing but win since donning a Saints jersey with three North Division titles, two league regular season titles and two AJHL championships, said what the veteran players got, and what this year’s rookies saw, goes a long way toward building a winning organ-ization.

Besides that, he added, the rings that were engraved with a player’s name, number and team record paid homage to how they were won.

“It shows that hard work pays off,” he said. “It’s a process and it’s not easy to win (in this league).”

The team’s GM and head coach, Jason McKee, noted  the ring ceremony is something special for those taking part.

“I think it shows we’re committed (as an organizatoin) to the players and we want to make it a real good experience throughout their time here. It’s obviously a nice way to cap off a great year. The memories they have will obviously last a lifetime and the ring is something for them to keep to remember the team and those teammates.”

As for the presentation being a motivational tool for the first-year players, McKee said it is some-thing they can strive for.

“You hope so. Hopefully it’s a motivating factor for our new guys to come in and be part of something special. It is a difficult thing to do and I think our new guys are still learning that. It’s going to take some time and I hope it is a motivating factor for them.

What this year’s rookies saw on this night. both in the on-ice win against the Brooks Bandits and the ring ceremony celebrating last year’s success is the winning attitude the Saints have built and which carries forward day in and day out

“It is a long season and it is a process,” Busch said in closing. “The fact they’re learning to win early is definitely not a bad thing.”

And in the end, when you win you get rewarded like the veteran Saints were on the weekend, and likely leaving the rookies wanting a taste of that victory prize themselves.