RATTLERS MAKE HISTORY: PERFECT SEASON
(Bradford, ON; January 18, 2013)
The Bradford Rattlers have gone down in the Junior Hockey record books. Bradford has become the 2nd team in the history of Canadian Junior hockey to have a perfect regular season. A 9-0 stomping of the Orangeville Americans yesterday evening clinched the 42nd victory on the 42nd regular season game. This is the first perfect season the GMHL has seen.
Recapping the season, from last off-season until this day will bring to fruition the building for the best 26 men roster the GMHL has seen.
Departures: Coming off a disappointing play-off knockout, changes had to be made to the roster. With leading scorer Travis White and top D-man graduating with NCAA scholarships to New England College, a overhaul of the roster was due.
Behind the Bench: Three year Assistant Coach Joe Gidari was hired away by the expansion Bradford Bulls in a Head Coaching role. With the void on the bench, Mike Telford was hired on in the coaching role. A slight re-alignment on the bench saw John Duco take over Head Coaching duties allowing Johan Lundskog to place more focus on his General Manager responsibilities.
Arrivals: Six players were resigned from the 2012 roster, leaving a huge void to be filled all over the roster. Lundskog signed a large portion of players from Swedish professional leagues, while using his connections in Canada to round out the line-up. A agent in the Czech Republic also brought four elite young players to the squad. Every player on the roster was signed from either AAA, Professional leagues, or with previous junior experience.
Before the season even began, Johan said in an interview: "This is the strongest squad we have ever assembled. We have a opportunity to do something special here." Coaches from around the league did not have the same opinion of the Bradford squad with so many new players.
Training Camp: 29 players arrived on September 1st at the World Hockey Centre for training camp. With Bradford only looking to carry 25 players into the season, not everyone was going to make it. In a tough decision, Bradford sent the four Czech boys over to Shelburne. These Czech players let go from the roster finished the season 3rd and 4th in league point getting, with one of them leading the league with 53 goals. At the time of the tough decision, Lundskog added that these were very talented players, they just didn't fit into the system the Rattlers were going to employ. They wanted to win this year. One could imagine how the completion of this roster would of changed with these additional front line talents.
With that, the opening day roster was set. The 26 men that would make up the core of this historic squad.
RattNation: A true sense of unity developed quickly amongst this group of young men. Traveling to Canada from all parts of the world, wearing the Rattler crest; these players trained and lived together every day. The birth of the hashtag '#RattNation' was born, encompassing everything this year's squad represented. From players, staff, fans, billets and volunteers; these are the people RattNation. All who stood behind the team, supporting them in this journey. A community in the town sharing in the success of the team. This is RattNation.
Acquisitions: The Rattlers knew early they had the chance to do something special this year. After just one game, Bradford made the largest trade in franchise history, landing reigning league top scorer from 2011-12 Illes Gallo. Right away, the GMHL new Bradford was serious about the year. Soon after, the addition of arguably the top D-man in the South Kyle Suggs was another key trade. Marcus Bergman, Viliam Knap, Brandon Scott were all players added through the season that added to the team's success.
On the Ice: The perfect season doesn't go without its challenges. Opening day agaisnt the expansion Bracebridge Phantoms, Bradford barely squeaked out of a 1-0 win. From this point on, the Rattlers knew they couldn't take any appointment lightly.
- 7.16 Goals a game
- 2.26 Goals against a game
- 53 Shots a game
- 6 All-star players, 1 All-star coach
- 91.5% Penalty Kill Percentage
- Regular Season Title Champions
- Longest Win Streak in GMHL History
- Best Record & Most points in GMHL History
These are just some of the amazing team achievements the Rattlers pulled off this season. Not to mention the individual efforts of record breaking players. For example, John LoParco being having most wins by a goaltender and tieing the record for shutouts.
A truly outstanding season by all members of RattNation. Next up is the Russell Cup Playoffs. Bradford will drop the puck tonight (Monday) against the Lefroy Wave in the first round. Full schedule can be found on gmhl.net.