SASKATOON – Saskatoon Contacts head coach Marc Chartier is taking his team to the Telus Cup for the third time in five years. He’s learned a few things along the way.
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“Basically it is a marathon but again at the same time you’re trying to play your players smart and you want to go through your whole roster, you don’t want to burn anybody out by day five because you could be playing on day six, day seven,” Chartier said.
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The national midget championship is one of the toughest tests in hockey. The teams play five games in five days and that’s just the round robin; the top four teams play seven games in a week.
“That’s what Marc’s been talking about all year, we can’t complain about being tired ’cause you got to go out there and you got to use your mind because that’s what’s going to drive our body is our mind,” said team captain Tyler Heidt.
That philosophy served the Contacts well at the west regional tournament where fresh legs proved key in a double overtime victory.
“I think the intensity, we were pretty intense throughout the entire tournament and we had our game pace pretty high and I think we can transfer that over to Telus Cup,” said defenceman Colby Haugen.
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The underdog role fit the Contacts like a glove at the west regional tournament but it’s safe to say they won’t be able to fly in under the radar at nationals. That being said, Saskatoon is fully prepared to take advantage should any of their opponents decide to take them lightly.
“I think we’re the underdog, not many people expected us to be here so we’re going to use that to our advantage and come out flying against the teams and hopefully them by surprise,” Haugen said.
Saskatoon has made five previous trips to the Telus Cup, winning it all in 2005. No matter the outcome this time around, Chartier knows his players will come home with a lifetime of memories.
“This is a great opportunity for them to showcase their talent there … you might not realize it now, how big it is, but as you go on there’s few times you play in a tournament like this,” Chartier said.
The Telus Cup tournament kicks off Monday in Quispamsis, New Brunswick.