Sonier shoulders blame for Islanders season
The Charlottetown Islanders and coach Gordie Dwyer had little chance for a sucessful season after a series of trades made mid-season, says team manager Grant Sonier.
Sonier said the blame for that lies with him.
Sonier said he had to make drastic changes during his first season at the helm. He also knows his flurry of trades put the team in a position where it would not be seeing much success on the ice.
"The situation I put them in by doing this rebuild was not truly a fair situation for them, and unfortunately in sports you get evaluated based on wins and losses," he said.
Grant Sonier was hired after the former P.E.I. Rocket team was taken over by a community group. Sonier has experience with junior hockey and the NHL, but this was his first season in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Sonier said he knew one of his first jobs with his new club would be to change the team, making room for younger players, and letting some of the older players go. However, those moves brought the team a losing record and an early exit from the playoffs.
I think our coaches know, our players know that come next year our performance has to be better.- Grant Sonier
" I really felt that the age of our hockey club was out of whack," said Sonier.
"It required what I would call a true rebuild, and I know some people think we have done rebuilds in the past, but I would suggest otherwise."
Ironically, as the team continued to lose games the fan support increased. By the end of the season the team was drawing just shy of the season goal of 2,500 fans per game.
Much of that was community goodwill, local support for a team now in local hands. That's something Sonier appreciates, but said won't sustain the team in the future.
I believe in the development process we put in place, I believe in the growth of our hockey club."
In an effort to keep talking directly with fans Sonier will be part of a special event this Sunday, he will meet directly with fans during an event called Inside the Islanders Live. Fans are invited to Eastlink in Centre in Charlottetown to ask questions to Sonier and head coach Gordie Dwyer.