SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Stampede hoisted the Clark Cup for the third time in franchise history last May, but will open their title defense with an almost entirely new cast of characters.
The first practice of the new season is in the books for the Stampede.
“A lot of faces I don’t know quite that well yet. A lot of new people to sort through, but it was a good tempo and a good pace,” Stampede head coach Scott Owens said.
“It’s good to be back here. High intensity, high pace, just getting back into the routine of everything, it’s nice,” Stampede forward Jared Westcott said.
Sioux Falls returns just two players with extensive USHL experience, forwards Ryan Sullivan and Jared Westcott, who combined for 25 goals and 45 assists last season.
“Only so many veterans, including myself, coming in so we have to set an example every day of what hard work looks like and what we need to do to win again. I think everyone understand that and wants to succeed with this team and great organization,” Stampede forward Ryan Sullivan said.
“We have a new group and we have to realize that we can’t dwell on last year with these guys. We have to be extremely patient. We have to just let it emerge and give good guidance. We’ve got a good group to work with, they’re just young and don’t have a lot of USHL experience,” Owens said.
A majority of the names have changed, but the Herd’s approach to winning has not, and it starts with speed.
“We’ll be fast, very fast again. I thought our team last year was fast. We’ve added young, fast kids this year. We’ve got some size, maybe not as much as last year, but we do have some bigger players that we picked up, so that’ll help us balance our roster and I think it’ll be a good look for us this year,” Sullivan said.
“There’s a lot of similar pieces in terms of skilled forwards, some defensemen that like to join the play offensively, we’ve got good depth at goaltender. We like to play that exciting brand of hockey that works well in our building, too,” Owens said.
The Stampede will trim their current 28-man roster to 23 prior to the start of the regular season September 28th in Pittsburgh.