Gamblers home opener Saturday- team speaks on depth and first female skating coach
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Gamblers are set for their home opener hosting the Dubuque Fighting Saints at the Resch Center on Saturday.
Green Bay started the year 1-1 on the road. Last season they went 30-17 and 0-2 in the playoffs.
The USHL is developmental league with young players, but the Gamblers have 13 returners this season.
“Any good USHL team needs to have that depth, and we return a great D-core with a goalie with a lot of experience,” Gamblers head coach and general manager Pat Mikesch said. “And with our forward group, we have some young talent that we’re just excited to see play.”
“This is probably the closest I’ve ever had as a team. We’re gelling really well this year,” Green Bay captain Jarod Crespo said. “All the guys are getting along really well. That helps our culture on the ice so much.”
“I think we have eight (defense) that can play in any situation, and all four lines can run deep“ defenseman Matt DeBoer said. “I think, obviously, we have those top end guys that’ll do all the skill work and scoring and all that stuff. I think those bottom end guys will glue everything together if those guys don’t have a good game or something like that.”
Much like many other sporting events, the Gamblers have been waiting a long time to get full fans back. Saturday’s game will feature a teddy bear toss for charity.
“I’ve had it circled on my calendar for a while. I know all the boys have too,” defenseman Ethan Straky said. “It’s going to be a special night. Obviously having fans in the building since the pandemic- I know they had a little bit last year but the full house again, especially with the teddy bear toss. I mean, I’ve seen videos in the past and it’s looked awesome. I can’t wait. It’s going to be a really fun night.”
Meanwhile, the Gamblers are making history having the first on-ice coach female coach in USHL’s history.
Green Bay hired Appleton native Amy Brolsma this offseason as the team’s skating and skills development coach.
With the team having players under the age of 21, development is key. Brolsma is already making a difference.
“And that’s what Amy brings. It’s more the expertise in the skating. And all of our guys are going through growth development and strength development and everything that goes into it,” Mikesch said. “Their strides can change so much, and she understands what works for a hockey player and the balance of it all.”
“Just really teaching the intricacies of skating, your edge work, some of this stuff I’ve never done before,” Straky said. “It makes me feel like a little kid again learning to skate to be honest. It’s been good for me and good for our whole team.”
“She’s an unbelievable skating coach, “defenseman Damien Carfagna said. “We’ve skated with her a number of times. For me personally, she’s helped my skating a lot. She’s helped a lot of guys’ skating a lot. Obviously it’s just going to pave the way for other female coaches to come through the league and higher in the ranks of hockey.”
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