Offseason performance: Men’s Hockey off the ice

Scoring the Gaels offseason
Image by: Herbert Wang
By making key moves and acquiring the right players, the team is in good hands with Coach Gibson.

Though the offseason is used by many to rest and recover after a long, grueling season, for Men’s Hockey Head Coach, Brett Gibson, the offseason demands greater focus on the managerial and fundamental aspects of sports and sports management.

The Gaels Men’s Hockey team has historically been a force to be reckoned with in their division, with seven OUA Championship titles, most recently in the 2018-19 season. However, after finishing seventh in their division last year with a record of 12 wins, 12 losses, and 2 overtime losses, there’s much more work to be done if they hope to return to the top of the standings.

I sat down with Head Coach Brett Gibson earlier this summer to discuss his plans for the offseason and his aspirations for the upcoming season.

At the top of his list for offseason work is recruitment. Every season, each U SPORTS team has a revolving door of overaged players exiting, and new recruits entering their roster. It’s imperative for the team’s success this process is taken seriously to ensure all holes in the roster are filled come puck drop at the season opener.

“Things I needed to address in the recruiting season is that we need to bring in a goaltender, and we need to get more goal scoring,” Gibson said in an earlier interview with The Journal.

Since talking to The Journal, Coach Gibson has done just that by bringing in a plethora of talented players, goal scorers, and a dependable goaltender, Aidan Spooner.

Spooner posted an admirable save percentage of 0.926, helping carry his former team, the Haliburton County Huskies, into the second round of the playoffs last season.

A boatload of offensive talent also hit the roster, including Kingston-native Derek Hamilton from the Junior A Carleton Place Canadians, and Oakville’s Cameron Tolnai, from the Ottawa 67’s.

Coach Gibson was extremely successful in his search to deepen the blue-collar, hard-working identity the coaching staff had worked to incubate for decades.

“I want to see the guy who’s going to win 50-50 puck battles, is going to win five to 10-foot races, and who’s going to make sure they do everything they can to win,” he said.

With additions like Dharan Cap, no skater on the opposing team is safe.

I got the chance to sit down with Cap in July to talk about his recruitment to the Gaels as well as his playstyle.

He emphasized his love for the gritty, hard-fought aspects of the game, citing his aggression on the forecheck and his ability to defend. Cap held the 2022-23 Defensive Forward of the Year award in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL).

By going into the offseason with an envisioned goal for what he’d hoped his team could come back looking like, Gibson went above and beyond to ensure he’s equipped his team with the tools they need to make a deep run come playoff time–hoping to please Gaels fans campus-wide.


brett gibson, Men's hockey

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