If this were Hollywood, the Osoyoos Coyotes would be that throw-together ragtag squad of young but very talented players at the opening end of a Disney sport movie.
But even though this isn’t the movies and the club is living through a difficult reality, there is a script — a focus on fundamentals, soul-searching and personal development — to get this team to Act Two and success.
“We have a group that’s capable. We have skill and we’re fast,” said head coach Mark Chase Wednesday. “It’s just about finding a different way to get a young group to understand what is necessary moving forward in order to make that jump to play at the junior level.”
The Yotes (1-5) are on the road to Fruitvale tonight and a meeting with the Beaver Valley Nighthawks (6-2) before returning home to play the 5-2 Fernie Ghostriders Saturday evening at the Sun Bowl.
Dogging them is a five-game losing streak, an anemic power play that has yet to record any positive results and an unfamiliar view from the bottom of the Okanagan division standings.
“The guys, I think, they’re definitely disappointed in what our record shows,” said Chase Wednesday morning. “I gave them Sunday and Monday off after our two losses.
“I personally needed some time just to come up some ideas as to how we’re going to approach the next segment of our season here.”
No doubt about it, his Coyotes are still in learning mode — understandable when you consider the number of rookies on the team.
“I’ve got 17 players who are 18 years or younger — and that’s like coaching a midget team,” said Chase. “But they’re not midget-calibre players — they’re junior hockey players — it’s just that the maturity level is not quite what Osoyoos Coyotes players had in the past when there were a lot of 19- and 20-year-olds.
“The brain development is still going on.”
Chase said he was encouraged with some administrative work he’s done — meeting with players individually and giving them some tools to help with and document improvement as well as come to terms with their own motivations for being on the team.
“At the end of the day, each player requires a reason as to why they want to succeed — why they wish to change their habits in order to be successful,” he said. “We as a coaching staff can train their skills all we want, but we can’t train their beliefs and we can’t train their passion.”
The proof, the coach hopes, will be in the upcoming scenes.
“I’m hoping that our situation and the things that we’ve done over the last couple of days will fuel us to push it into the next gear. We’re going to find a way to make the next step. I’m just not sure what the timeline will be.”
And there is an Act Three — at least on paper.
“The goal is the playoffs and the goal is to compete to win a championship,” Chase said. “But before we can say we’re going to win a championship, we need to be able to really develop our fundamentals, habits and details.”
You can catch the next scene Saturday evening. Show time at the Sun Bowl is 7:35 p.m.