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Ireland Ready Behind Attack Bench

The Owen Sound Attack ended their .500 exhibition season with a win over their arch rival the Mississauga Majors. Attack coach Greg Ireland was pleased with the 5-2 win, believing it is an indication of the young team’s efforts to become consistent and to display a stronger work ethic. With four regulars off to NHL training camps (Jordan Binnington -St. Louis, Kurtis Gabriel-Phoenix, Daniel Catenacci -Buffalo and Geoffrey Schemitsch-Tampa) the exhibition season was an opportunity for young players to gain some OHL experience and prove to their coach they deserve a spot on the team.

Ireland’s arrival to Owen Sound follows the departure of OHL coach of the year Mark Reeds. Ironically, Reeds is now a partner with his rival from last season, Mississauga Majors and Team Canada coach Dave Cameron. The pair has now entered the NHL as assistant coaches for the Ottawa Senators.

Not daunted by the big shoes left for him to fill, Ireland is confident his past professional experience in the East Coach Hockey League and American Hockey League has prepared him for the competitiveness of the OHL’s Western Conference. While many question if Ireland is up to the pressure of following Reed’s success, Ireland feels his own competitive nature and the pressure he puts on himself will enable him to successfully make a smooth transition to the Attack’s bench.

Just an hour south of Owen Sound down highway #10, the Orangeville native was destined to end up behind the Attack bench. Ireland’s name has been bandied around in many discussions for past coaching vacancies many times in the Attack and its predecessor the Plater’s history. This time around Ireland was chosen over 40 other applicants including former NHL head coaches Cory Clouston (Ottawa) and John Anderson (Atlanta). Ireland is now ready for what he believes will be a competitive season.

Ireland still needs to make some adjustments to the final roster as there is a healthy internal competition. Nine defensemen need to be whittled to seven or eight , there is a tight competition for back- up goalie as well as a player or two up front. Ireland predicts the Attack will be a hard working team that makes it tough for any team to compete against the reigning OHL champions.

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