Local hockey fans got their first chance to see the new Esterhazy Senior Flyers in action on Saturday night, when the rookies played against Moosomin Rangers in an exhibition game at Churchbridge.
After a year without a team, there was a sense of excitement and perhaps anticipation in the hearts and minds of the faithful, at least at the beginning of the game. However, by the end of the third period there was certainly no rejoicing from Esterhazy fans, because Moosomin thrashed the Flyers 11-0.
I’ll spare the new team the agony of listing the times and scorers of the 11 Moosomin goals that belted into the net against them. Instead, I want to draw an analogy that might make sense of the performance that was given during this first game, by comparing the debut of the new Flyers with the release of a new car.
You know what it’s like when a manufacturer releases a brand new car with the same name as the outgoing model. Expectations are high, comparisons are made, and sometimes the manufacturer has to issue recall notices because they did not get it right first time. I think this will happen with the new Flyers as well!
To begin with, the expectations of fans are high. The previous Flyers team took us to final after final over the last few seasons they were together. In the process they built quite a reputation for themselves. Well, now we have a new team with the old name, and like it or not there’s a residual expectation that the reputation of the name must be maintained. That’s a lot of pressure for the new players, and unrealistic for the fans too.
This expectation of continued performance will lead to comparisons. Again, when a new car is released with the same name, some people will say “O, I liked the old version better” or “This one is not a patch on the old one.” And, let’s face it, there will be fans who say “These new Flyers just are not like the old team.” And that may be true, but do they have to be?
You see, there’s hardly a single name on the player roster that is carried over from the old team (with a few exceptions). And just like a new car is made up of new components that have to be given time to prove themselves, so also must this new team (made up of new players) be given a chance to gel. Some new cars go through recall after recall until everything works as it should, and I suspect it will take a while for these new boys to get it together too.
To me, this 11-0 defeat says nothing important. I don’t expect them to win every game, cup, or championship this first season together, for that would be unfair and unrealistic. However, I don’t expect them to lose every time they step on the ice either. So what do I expect? I expect them to get better as they learn how to become a team. If it takes a few games or even a few seasons, what does it matter? In the end, I hope the players stay humble and patient, allowing themselves time to grow. May we as fans show them the same patience.
Enjoy the pictures below. Thanks to Crushrite, NVCU, Maple Communications, Kevin Zazula and Pharmasave Esterhazy for supporting our photography. Open the viewer by clicking any image.
PS…. Read Don Halyk’s take on the new Flyers HERE