3View: Gillette Wild
The 3View series will feature an in-depth look into all NA3HL teams in preparation for the 2022-23 season, with two teams being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 3View goes in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all the head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2022-23 season, including taking a look at their potential roster and their strengths as a team for the upcoming season. It will also take a look back on the 2021-22 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished. Best of all, 3View will provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.
2021-22 Record: 41-4-2, 84 pts. (2nd in Frontier Division)
2022 Playoffs: Lost in Fraser Cup Round-Robin
Head Coach: Ethan Hayes
2022-23 Division: Frontier
Ethan Hayes will be heading into his 3rd season of tenure as the head coach of the Gillette Wild. The program is making steps in the right direction and the team and Hayes feel that after getting a taste of the Fraser Cup, goals and aspirations of success will be even higher this season.
Hayes reflected on this past season, one that saw the Wild fall two points short of winning the Frontier Division regular season title and falling in the Round Robin of the Fraser Cup.
“I am very proud of the team from last season. The reflection for me every time I think about the team and what they did last year, I always smile. We had a great season, we had a lot of fun, and we made some memories that most kids don’t get the chance to make. As far as expectations, the boys last season worked hard to pave the way for this program to be successful for a lot of years to come, but we fell short of our team goals. We wanted to win the division, and we wanted to perform better at the Fraser Cup,” said Hayes.
Along with the team success that Gillette had last year, they also saw a few familiar faces move on to the next level. Hayes reflected on the program’s ability to help players advance and talked about Declan Young, committed to St. Scholastica, and his fantastic season.
“Our program is capable of teaching, developing, and helping our guys navigate the college process. As for Declan, he was the team leader, always working hard, always competing no matter what was going on, made his goal early on to play D3 and did what he had to do to get there. He’s a great leader and great kid,” said Hayes.
The returning players to the 2022-23 roster are ready to get the season underway and utilize Gillette’s resources to improve as a team and individually. Hayes spoke on a few of the returners and how the expectations will remain the same.
“The key guys returning are definitely Sky, Saizha, Jake, and Isaac. They are the leaders in the room right now and they all are hungry to outperform what they did last season. My expectations from all of my returners are to just make sure the culture and the locker room is the same as it was last year, we’re a family, we take care of each other, there are no cliques, no off man out. And the sooner we become a family the sooner our success will come,” said Hayes.
With a hungry group of players and a framework for success, the Wild have expectations set high and are willing to put in the work to meet those expectations.
“I expect us to win the division this season. I expect us to go back to the Fraser Cup, and I expect our performance there to be better than it was last year. To accomplish that, we just must keep the mindset to keep learning and work as hard as possible every single day,” said Hayes.
Gillete’s quest for the Fraser Cup will begin on September 9th as they face off against the Bozeman Icedogs on home ice.
Next Up: El Paso Rhinos