GM feels 'it's time' for Raiders to be respectable
Greg Harder, Leader-Post
Published: Friday, September 26, 2008
The Prince Albert Raiders have grown accustomed to being on the outside looking in at playoff time, but Bruno Campese is determined to change the view.
Now in his second year as the Raiders' head coach, Campese added the GM's title midway through last season after the firing of Donn Clark. In accepting the dual role, Campese embraced the task of bringing respectability back to one of the WHL's proudest franchises, an objective that's reflected in the team's new slogan: 'It's time.'
"It's something we've discussed about a lot of different areas of the organization, that it's time to change the direction," offered Campese, whose team (1-2-0-0) plays host to the Regina Pats (0-1-0-1) tonight and visits the Brandt Centre on Saturday. "Its time for a new focus and it's time for different possibilities. I think the slogan kind of fits where we're at right now. There has been lots of pride here in the past and it has kind of wilted a little bit. We're trying to regain some of that energy. We're really trying to get back some of the tradition of winning."
It all starts at the top. Campese is setting the tone for his players by reinforcing the kind of habits that result in "winning and not accepting anything less."
Having inherited a team with some discipline issues last year, Campese also raised the bar in terms of how he expects his players to conduct themselves on and off the ice.
"They know the expectations," said the former BCHL bench boss. "They're held accountable for creating good habits. It's not going to happen overnight either. The Western Hockey League is not a league where you can just go and fill your roster with 20 players overnight. You've gotta draft and you've gotta develop your young kids into a certain philosophy. You hope you have success with the current group of kids and they can pass the torch down."
The Raiders are coming off four straight losing seasons, having posted a winning record just once in the past nine campaigns. They've missed the playoffs two of the past three years and five of eight.
"We're tying to find what has worked in the past and what's working for teams right now," said Campese. "Several years ago, Regina had a 12-win season. Then all of a sudden they're at a 40-win season. How does that happen? Some things obviously changed within that time-span."
The Pats have posted three straight winning seasons since their 12-win nightmare in 2004-05. They're hoping to continue that trend this season under rookie head coach Dale Derkatch, who was hired in the summer after Curtis Hunt became an assistant with the Ottawa Senators.
"They've got some real quality in their lineup, that's for darn sure," Campese said of the Pats. "They're going to be, I think, serious contenders at the end of the day. They've got a new coach with new systems and a new way that he wants to attack the game. It'll be interesting this weekend to see the differences that have transpired from new coaching and a new philosophy."
© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2008