Hitmen chasing another banner

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

Calgary Hitmen head coach Mike Williamson had to feel just a little guilty.

After battling through 71 games, his players had just wrapped up the club’s second straight Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as regular-season champions.

Their reward?

An early-morning practice in northeast Calgary.

“Congrats, guys. We’ll see you at 8:30,” Williamson said with a grimace, recalling how he broke the news to his guys.

With the Saddledome ice taken out for Saturday night’s lacrosse game, and the Hitmen involved in volunteer programs in the afternoon, there was only one icetime up for grabs.

They probably could have taken the day off, but players and coaches alike are intent on keeping the pedal to the metal heading into the playoff-opener at home Thursday night.

“It was a lot of work, so they can enjoy it,” Williamson said.

“But we have a lot more work to do. We want to play hockey for a long time.

“In order to do that, we have to continue to get better.”

Last year, the Hitmen locked up the regular-season title and then coasted through the first three rounds of the playoffs without dropping a single game.

But they ended up falling in six games to the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL final.

Defenceman Michael Stone said the heartbreaking loss to the Rockets has helped keep his team grounded.

“We want to put one more (banner) up there in the roof,” Stone said. “It’s nice to have the honour of being regular-season champs. I’m not knocking that at all, but there’s still one more big (trophy).”


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