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Thursday September 29, 2011

After a relatively disappointing losing season in 2010-2011, the Gee-Gees men’s hockey team will look to rebound in a strong way in the 2011-2012 campaign. The squad will be opening the season with a combination of familiar faces and new ones, both on the roster and in the coaching staff.

Most notably, the Gee-Gees acquired a new Head Coach in Réal Paiement during the off-season. Paiement is set to continue his impressive 30-year coaching resume as the 20th bench boss in Gee-Gees men’s hockey history. “It is a historical [hockey] program here,” said coach Paiement. “This program has had its ups and downs, but now it’s time that we find the solutions to make it a consistently high level program.”

On the ice, offensive fire power and depth was an issue for the Gee-Gees squad last year, which saw them finish second last in goals scored in the OUA and third last in OUA standings. This was the issue that new head Paiement addressed first and foremost in the offseason and training camp. “I am pleasantly surprised with the level of the players,” explained Paiement. “But we had the third worst goals against average in the country last year, so this is a situation we have to address as a team philosophy. We want to become a harder team to play against.”

The Gee-Gees season opener takes place this weekend at Nipissing on Saturday, October 1. However, with only one exhibition game under their belt the garnet and grey begin their season with three straight road games, making the early season development that much more difficult.

“It’s definitely a problem to only play one [exhibition] game,” said Paiement. “We are also playing good teams to open the season, but we just have to keep things simple and that’s when we will really see where players fit in.”

The Gee-Gees recruiting staff brought in a handful of new talent in the offseason, including Maxime Chamberland (Ville LaSalle, Que.) and Alexandre Touchette (Acton Vale, Que.) who the team are very excited about.

“Chamberland has been one of the top scorers in the East, who was averaging more than a point-per- game,” explained Paiement, “and Touchette was a point-per-game player in the QMJHL, so we’re bringing some immediate offence with those two.”

This season will be the 122nd in Gee-Gees hockey history, and it is sure to be an exciting start to a new era. The Gee-Gees begin the season on the road at Nipissing University on Saturday, October 1, followed by a southern Ontario road swing the next weekend when they visit Guelph on Friday, October 7, and Wilfrid Laurier on Saturday, October 8.