“We had a fantastic season last year, but obviously it ended in a very disappointing way,” Gibson said in an interview with The Journal.
Last spring, the Gaels lost their final game in an overtime battle against the McGill Redbirds, finishing with an overall record of 17-3.
“We want to prove how good we were—how good we are—and it’s a great opportunity in front of us now that we have the whole OUA East to play,” Gibson said.
The Gaels are off to a strong start this year, winning two out of their three pre-season games. Most recently, however, the Gaels lost to the Laurier Golden Hawks with a final score of 4-0.
Although Coach Gibson believes the Gaels played well during the other two preseason games, he acknowledges they got away with some mistakes that caught up with them against Laurier.
“It’s better to happen in the pre-season, and I was actually happy we didn’t get the result we wanted to,” he said. “We’ve got a lot to work on. We are far from a perfect team right now.”
Former team captain Patrick Sanvido, BEd ’22, will join the team’s coaching staff for the 2022-23 season. Gibson said he loves having former players work beside him, as it reinforces the Queen’s hockey culture and family atmosphere on the staff team.
“To mentor Patty again into a role of coaching, he’s just a great human being. I already know his leadership qualities; it’s just how we communicate those leadership qualities as a coach and not a captain.”
The Gaels will have two more pre-season games against Waterloo and Western on Sept. 23 and 24 respectively before starting their official season on Oct. 14.
With the last official game of the regular season on Feb. 11, Gibson emphasized the challenges associated with a season this long and is actively working to prevent burnout among players.
The key to keeping stamina, Gibson says, is communication.
“I truly believe it’s a partnership, not a dictatorship. I just have to listen to my players and listen to the people I’ve surrounded myself with.”
Gibson explained how he sees the season in three phases: the first phase is an introduction to the team, getting to know the players, creating relationships, and understanding the team dynamic; the second comes after winter break, where students get nearly a month off school; the third phase is the sprint at the end leading into the OUA playoffs.
We are approaching phase one of the Gael’s hockey season; their first regular-season home game is on Oct. 21 against the uOttawa Gee-Gees. Gibson hopes to see Queen’s students cheering on their classmates in the stands.
“We love the crowds, and we need the help. We’d love to see everyone out that night.”