The Mars Planets love playing in the Penguins Cup. They love it so much they've played in the final the past 4 years. The year before that, they lost in the Semi-finals. Progressing from losing in the Penguin Cup final in 2008, they have only lost a handful of games since.
Not to mention they are the two time defending state champions. So how does a team this good keep on striving to improve and win even more? Head Coach Steve Meyers believes his team has all the characteristics to go out and compete for a third straight state title.Q: What are you doing to motivate your team this year? After going 20-1-0, how do you instill that urgency back into a team that had so much success?
A: There isn't much motivating that needs done to be honest. The team this season is made up of mostly younger players, most of whom didn't get a chance to play in the Penguins Cup games or the State Finals. They want to get back there and defend our titles again. The effort has been there all summer in the skates and the drylands. As for urgency, we have a lot of new guys who are stepping into bigger and more prominent roles this season, so I think they are all eager to prove themselves and eager to have success.Q: Where are you looking most to strengthen your team?
A: After graduating almost our entire D core, and both goalies, defensively is where I am spending the most time reviewing and going over. We have 3 young goalies fighting for playing time, and a very young defense, so we are spending a ton of time going over different situations they may not have encountered at lower levels.Q: What do you think is most important for a young hockey player in the offseason?
A: At my summer sessions, I try to work on individual skills (shooting, skating, stickhandling, passing, etc). For the most part, I try to do different skill drills and then have some fun towards the end. In my few years here at Mars, the guys respond very well to that kind of structure. They know to be serious at certain times, and if they work hard and prepare right, they get to have some fun towards the end of practices.Q: Does your organization encourage offseason activities, dryland workouts, etc?
A; Yes, we try to skate at least once a week, and dryland (unless it is dangerously hot) once a week. I try to keep these activities light and fun so that the guys don't get burnt out. We have a lot of amateur players who are doing these things for those teams as well, so I do everything in my power to try and avoid doing too many things to burn out my guys.Q: What will your approach be like this year? Obviously each year is a different team, but what is your mindset for the start of the season?
A: Obviously, we have been blessed with one of the most skilled teams in the PIHL for the last few years and have graduated a lot of those winning classes, but the mindset doesn't change. This team will be returning less individual skill than we have had in years past, but the work ethic and heart is there. There are a lot of players returning that know what it takes to win a state title, and that will help our young guys tremendously. In time, we expect to be just as hard to play against in our system as last year's team. We are still returning a ton of talent, so we expect to be right in the hunt again.
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