With the 2014 National Championships about to kick-off tomorrow, I decided it was time to dust off the old Hardfouls blog. Hopefully this will provide those who are following our men’s U17 team a little more info that what we normally try to cram into our 140 character tweets.

This year the talk has been how the tournament is wide open and that several teams look like they have a legitimate chance to advance deep into the medal round. From what we can tell our NB U17 men’s team is one of those teams. We’ve defeated Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Quebec during exhibition play and Newfoundland has defeated Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island. Some of those games were played earlier this summer or without key players, but for the most part all games were close and everyone came away thinking they could win on any given day.

Based on last year’s strong showing at Summer Games we enter this year’s tournament as the four seed. This places us in the “power pool” with Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec. Four strong opponents for sure but we would not have it any other way. Our first two games will have us battled test heading into the medal round and should give us a good indication of where we stand in this year’s field.

Our first game is Friday night at 6:00 pm (9:00 pm Atlantic) against defending champs Ontario. We are definitely not looking past this game. The winner of this game is guaranteed to be one of the top two seeds which normally is a huge advantage in the quarter finals.

Today will be all about preparing physically and mentially for that game. The players will be settling into their normal daily routine and the coaching staff will be reviewing film in preparation for our practice today and tomorrow morning.

Thank you to everyone who have sent so many messages of support over the last 24 hours. We know you’re in our corner. Hopefully this time next week we’ll be heading home with a medal. Go NB!

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