Charlottetown team signs DiPaolo and Cobbold, two free agents from the Ontario Hockey League
The Charlottetown Islanders are a bigger, grittier and deeper team.
The Islanders have added two free agents from the Ontario Hockey League during the past week. Defenceman Mike DiPaolo and forward Spenser Cobbold are 19-year-old playerss who have elements to their game Islanders general manager Grant Sonier was looking for.
“If we play harder, and we play with more truculence and more of a pugilistic attitude I think we’ll win a lot more games this season,” Sonier said Wednesday.
“We’re not looking to build a goon squad here, we’re looking to build a tougher, harder team to play against.”
He liked the grit level on his team before the moves, but said captain Jack Nevins has emerged as one of the team’s best players and he didn’t want a young Zach Beaton to do all the fighting.
Sonier said the Islanders are a young team and are going to make some mistakes from time to time leading the opposition to have the puck in its zone more than it would like.
“If that’s the case, we better be a harder to play against in our own zone,” Sonier said.
The new additions bring the Islanders roster to 25.
“I don’t see us staying at the number we’re at. Whenever I can change that number I will,” Sonier said.
We’re not looking to build a goon squad here, we’re looking to build a tougher, harder team to play against. Grant Sonier, general manager of the Islanders
In the meantime the competition level was “cranked up” at Wednesday’s practice, the first time the team has been on the ice since Cobbold was added.
“Guys are just going to have to accept whatever role is assigned to them and if you’re not in the lineup, you have to do whatever you can to get back in the lineup and that’s healthy I think,” Sonier said Wednesday.
“The only way you get better in the game of hockey is if you practise like you play and if we play like we practised today, we’re going to be just fine.”
Sonier said the signings have nothing to do with the team being on a three-game losing streak or the fact the Islanders next game is Friday against the Sherbrooke Phoenix, who leads the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in fighting majors. But Sonier said his team would not back down either.
“If they’re coming in here with their guns blazing and their gloves off then we’ll be ready for whatever challenges come our way,” Sonier said.