The Boys of winter return

Tony Saxon/Guelph Today

By Tony Saxon, Guelph Today

Guelph Storm general manager/coach George Burnett has high expectations for the upcoming season.

And given the number of returning players and overall age of this team, rightfully so.

The Storm hit the ice for the start of the 2018-19 campaign Tuesday at the Sleeman Centre, with 48 players reporting to camp.

A team that returns 17 players is expected to contend for the Western Conference crown this season. And while there are a number of teams in that category, anything less than a top four finish for the locals would have to be catastrophic.

“With the number of returning players we have, we should be a more competitive team,” Burnett said Tuesday. “We need to win more hockey games and more importantly we need to be more consistent and have a good season.

“I want my choices to be difficult and if they are then we’re getting better and our team’s going to be better.”

With 17 returnees, the addition of overager Jack Hanley and three rookies already signed, there wouldn’t appear to be many openings up for grabs.

But Burnett disagrees.

“There is opportunity for others. I expect camp to be very competitive. I expect there are some second year players who are going to push some older guys,” Burnett said.

“We want a competitive, physical camp. Effort is going to be something we’re going to be talking about … I want a better, more consistent effort and effort will be rewarded.

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