Any school which is contemplating starting a hockey program should look at how Carleton coach Fred Parker built a playoff team right off the hop.
There seems to be a real contrast to how Carleton and UOIT approached their first full-fledged hockey seasons. The Ravens are playoff-bound after a 7-1 rout of Ottawa in their regular-season finale today. Meantime, the Ridgebacks, who've had their moments this season, will finish with no more than seven wins in 28 games.
For its coach, Carleton opted for Parker, who had deep roots in the region and a great track record, but no CIS experience. UOIT went with an experienced CIS coach, Marlin Muylaert, who guided Guelph to a national title in the late 1990s.
Parker kind of a took a three-layer-cake approach to making the Ravens immediately competitive. The first layer consisted of bringing in older players with collegiate and pro experience, even though they might only play a season or two for Carleton. In contrast, every player on UOIT's roster is listed as being in his first year of eligibility.
One of the ready-made Ravens veterans, winger Francis Walker, who set up their three goals today, played in Austria last season before returning home to Canada. The second layer consisted of getting ex-OHLers, such as captain Andrew Gibbons, who played in the OHL final last season with Sudbury, to buy into the program, rather than take the CIS for granted, which sometimes happens with the ex-major junior guys. Last, but not least, since the CIS is a bit of a second-chance, late bloomer's league, Parker filled out the roster with Junior B and Tier II players, where he previously coached.
In fact, Carleton's first goal today was by a former Tier II player, Adam Marriner, with assists from the ex-pro, Walker, and an OHL product, defenceman Brodie Beard. In a nutshell, that's what Carleton's season has been all about.