After five years on the ice, Andrew Wilkins is ready to take on a new role with the Thunderwolves. The former player will be serving as assistant coach with the university hockey team when the new season starts later this month.

For Wilkins, the new position is a dream come true. "It's the chance to work for a nationally recognized hockey program, to develop those student athletes on and off the ice."

Wilkins will be putting players through their paces this week as the training camp opens. He said expectations are high with the roster they have.

"This is the first time that I've been here in five years this many players are competing for the four lines that we have, extras for competition reasons, injury reasons."

Assistant Coach Andrew Wilkins has high hopes for the new season

Assistant coach Andrew Wikins has high hopes for the new season (Andrew Wikins)

As a coach, Wilkins is excited about the make-up of the team with a lot of new faces and hometown players like Nathan Cull and Dylan Butler.  The strategy this year is all about becoming better. "We can't look too far ahead. It's about getting the guys to come out and earning their ice time."

The first game of the Thunderwolves season is September 19 against the Mount Royal Cougars and Wilkins said the team has a lot to offer the crowds who come out to the Fort William Gardens.

"With the Thunderwolves we are a popular brand. We're our local school team, unique that this is the best place to play hockey." It's clear said Wilkins, "we have the best fans."