’Backs stress commitment

If Troy Mick had one message for hockey fans last Wednesday it was that the SilverBacks are committed to making Salmon Arm proud

Mix and mingle: SilverBacks Bryden Marsh and Harlan Orr chat with billet co-ordinator Evelyn Cook at the second annual town hall meeting and barbecue.

Mix and mingle: SilverBacks Bryden Marsh and Harlan Orr chat with billet co-ordinator Evelyn Cook at the second annual town hall meeting and barbecue.

The ’Backs are back. If Troy Mick had one message for hockey fans last Wednesday it was that the SilverBacks are committed to making Salmon Arm proud, on and off the ice.

“You’re going to see improvement in the whole association,” he said, citing extensive community involvement, committed players, dedicated staff, better talent and a determined ownership group as reasons to believe in the team this year.

Fans filled the council chamber for the second annual town hall meeting and barbecue on Aug. 7. Twelve players mingled at the event, which Mick hopes will get bigger every year. The plan is to develop it into an alumni weekend and one day have a Salmon Arm junior hockey wall of honour. Mick said he wants to recognize past players who have been exemplary members of the community and represented the team with dignity.

He took the time to introduce the staff who will propel the team this season and some of the players who fans will see this year, including Alex Gillies, Brendan Kennedy, Jeff Kennedy, Mitchell Ferguson and Bryden Marsh.

Mick expressed a goal of putting the Salmon Arm SilverBacks back on the map, something the new ownership is committed to achieving.

“These people are so committed to this organization, you wouldn’t believe it,” he said. “They believe in this community or they wouldn’t have stepped up to the plate.”

Mick also mentioned they have increased their scouting staff and says the talent he has coming to training camp this year is an improvement from last year.

It’s not all about wins and losses though, it’s about the game of hockey, he said, adding that the team is dedicated to earning the community’s trust and their pride back.

The fans in attendance had more comments than questions, offering encouragement that also echoed an expectation of excellence from the team. They want the SilverBacks to find ways to pack the Shaw Centre and improve the overall experience of the game. Mick says the louder the better and the staff is working towards better lighting and sound.

One question that Mick did get: is he committed to the team for the whole season?

“Absolutely,” he said. “We’re looking forward to a great year.”