It’s 75 degrees and sunny out, so that means it must be time for that sport that’s played on ice to get started again.
Indeed, the Everett Silvertips embark on their 15th season this week when training camp opens Thursday at what for the time being is still being called Xfinity Arena.
This is a season of change for the Tips. Head coach Kevin Constantine is gone following his second four-year stint at the helm, as his contract was not renewed despite guiding Everett to the U.S. Division title last season. Dennis Williams is the new head coach, having been brought in from the Bloomington Thunder of the USHL, a team that is also owned by Tips owner Bill Yuill.
Unsurprisingly, Constantine’s dismissal generated strong responses. Constantine was by far the most successful coach in franchise history, guiding Everett to three division titles, a Western Conference championship and a Scotty Munro Trophy during his first four-year stint with the team from 2003-07, then adding two more divisi0n titles from 2013-17. Constantine accomplished most of these things despite working with rosters that were not as talented as his main rivals. So many expressed outrage at Constantine’s ousting.
However, Constantine’s teams tended to be geared more toward defense than offense, something that went counter to general manager Garry Davidson’s preference. In addition, Everett had difficulty recruiting top-end forwards to the team in recent years, and some theorize that Constantine’s style was the reason. And Jesse Geleynse’s story in Sunday’s paper not only mentioned a recent drop in attendance, it also alluded to the possibility of financial entanglements between Constantine and Yuill playing a role in Constantine’s removal.
As a result, there’s a lot of unknowns heading into the 2017-18 season.
We don’t know how good Everett is going to be this season. What Williams can achieve as a coach is a mystery. The Tips have an outstanding group of overagers and a superstar 19-year-old goaltender, but have next to nothing with regards to 19-year-old skaters, who tend to be the foundation of any successful WHL team.
But I’m not interested in what you think about this season’s team. I’m interested in how you feel about the direction of the franchise following the dismissal of Constantine and the hiring of Williams. Have your say here: