With their exit interviews in the books, the Okanagan Rockets officially opened the shortest off-season in club history on Friday morning.
"I still remember missing the playoffs my first year" said Rockets general manager David Michaud. "Considering that off-season started in late February, I'm just fine with the off-season coming in May this year."
The Rockets are little less than one week removed from the conclusion of their best campaign to date. The Rockets claimed National Bronze in Moose Jaw last Sunday. For the Rockets, it was their first trip to the Telus Cup.
"I think the accomplishment has started to sink in, there is no question that this will be a difficult act for our club to follow next season."
As difficult as it can be to think of another run when the Rockets are losing so much talent off their current roster, Michaud doesn't see it that way. "We talked to the players about the legacy that this season will leave behind. The number of families that have reached out to us and asked how we become a part of this has been overwhelming."
Replacing some of the top players in the history of the Rockets may seem daunting, but Michaud feels that the best just might lie ahead for the Rockets program. "For Mack O'Rourke and me, this is incredibly exciting. Good programs always find a way to re-load and we think we are a great program. Mack and I are going to have some fun this summer shaping a roster of players that we believe can get us to Quebec for the 2015 Telus Cup. Now that we have had a taste, there is no going back."
Rockets staff will take a couple of weeks off before taking to the ice with a '99 Initiation Camp. It will be the first it's kind for the Rockets and Michaud is excited "There is an abundance of young talent in the Valley and we think this is a great chance to introduce the players and the families to our program. Hopefully after they will get a little better idea on what we are all about, and then they will be back in August for our annual evaluation camp.
For now, the players and staff will go their separate ways as things return to normal, all the while enjoying in a supreme sense of accomplishment.