West Sound missed the playoffs in its inaugural WSHL season but is already eying the future
BREMERTON — The Seattle Totems came out firing and beat West Sound 11-1 on Sunday to end the Admirals season.
West Sound was in its first season in the Western States Hockey League, taking over for the West Sound Warriors franchise in the Northwest Division. WSHL officials decided due to a shortage of players West Sound won’t advance to the postseason.
While the Admirals didn’t have the season they wanted after ending with a 7-42-2 record, for many players the growth they learned on and off the ice won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
“It’s a safety issue,” Admirals assistant coach Matt Ferris said, adding the league didn’t want to risk more injuries due to a limited availability of players coming off the bench. Ferris said the same issue happened with the Cheyenne Stampede in the Mountain Division.
Admirals forward David Dunn, a native of Houlton, Maine, never thought about packing up and heading home. He gave general manager/head coach Dave Daniello his commitment last summer and stuck with it.
“I had a lot of trust in Dave at the beginning of the year and I think he’s a great guy,” Dunn said. “He means well with everything he did with the team. I stuck with it because adversity is a big part of life. I think you should really represent how your parents raised you and that’s how I was raised. I did it for the boys.”
Dunn scored the lone goal for West Sound against Seattle on Sunday in the third period.
“I think I was mostly doing it for the 20-year-olds on the team,” Dunn said. “Tyler (Perry), Noah (Bird) and Harman (Vining), I think they really deserved that … (I) dedicated that to them.”
Ferris said the team started with plenty of talent but it didn’t gel the way they had hoped and Daniello made the decision to trade or release several veteran players to playoff-bound teams — team captain Alec Johnson and Dimitrii Munirov were sent to Seattle — while bringing in more youth.
“We’re trying to build for the future, for next year,” Ferris said. “We only have five 20-year-olds tonight on our roster and so those are the only five that wouldn’t be able to come back next year. There’s a lot of guys that are eligible to come back next year.”
Among them is Kyle Chambers, who played his first full Junior A season with the Admirals. Chambers, a Portland, Oregon, native, said he learned a lot playing away from home for the first time.
“Being up here was a fun time and I met a lot of cool guys,” Chambers said. “I learned a lot of things from the vets, the older guys, and I learned a lot from this year. I learned how to lead and be a better leader for the team.”
Chambers said getting the call from Daniello last summer gave him motivation this season to develop himself in a tough league.
“I think I’ve gotten a lot better and I’ve improved a lot over the year,” he said, adding the advice and constructive criticism led to his own betterment.
Chambers added he also made friends for life.
“They’re just trying to help me get better,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade any of these guys for anybody else. These guys are my family. They’re my brothers, they’ll be my brothers for life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.”