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Management reflects on first full season

After spending the first season as a new team in the BCHL in a pod in Penticton, the Cranbrook Bucks have finished their first full season at home.

Owner and president Nathan Lieuwen said the team and the BCHL did well to navigate the pandemic while still putting a good product on the ice.

“I think our league and our franchise did a very good job of navigating those turbulent waters and making sure that the players got to play,” Lieuwen says.

“Obviously this year, our fans got to experience what we wanted them to experience here.”

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Ryan Donald, head coach and GM, said they’ve learned a lot over the last two years and they can’t wait to keep it going.

“It was certainly a lot of learning, a really good experience for our group to go through and learn a lot of the challenges that come with a full season in our league. Whether it’s travel or opponents, all the stuff we didn’t really experience in our first season back in the pod,” added Donald.

“It was cool to see the community start to rally again and get back into the building again. To see playoff hockey again I think revitalizes the hockey side of things in Cranbrook and it’s something we’re excited for in the future.”

The team finished with a 29-22-2-3 record making the playoffs, a drastic improvement over the pod season.

Myles Fitzgerald, assistant coach, said he wishes they could have made it a little further but he’s proud of the team’s effort.

“You look at how young our team is and the future of our team and really no expectations at the start of the year, I was proud of the group,” added Fitzgerald.

“I thought we did a good job. I obviously wish we went a little further in the playoffs but it was a good season overall.”

Next, we will have the perspective of some of the Bucks players.

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