by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Bill Wilkinson
2006-07 Record: 12-21-2 (8-10-2 CHA)
Key Returnees: Mike Forgie F SR., Derek Bachynski F SR., Tylor Michel F SR., Stavros Paskaris F SR., Matt Krug D JR., Jon Grabarek F JR., Derek Punches F JR., Brett Bothwell G SO., Jared Katz F SO., Jeff Caister D SO., Ryan Bernardi D SO.
Key Losses: Jason Bloomingburg, Nate Higgins, Taylor Donohoe, Jason Baclig, Mark Cannon, Dan Iliakis, Mark Nebus, Matt Boldt
The news that Wayne State's program will be discontinued over this season, overshadows anything else. But the Warriors will try to motivate themselves to go out with a bang.
The bigger motivation will come from all the players who will be looking for new places to play next season.
Either way, it will provide for many interesting moments.
Last season, the team was filled with seniors, and it bounced back from a terrible 2005-06 campaign. That means this year will be filled with freshmen.
"It was a funny year," said Wayne State Warrior coach Bill Wilkinson about the 2006-07 season. "We did better. We doubled our win total from the previous year."
This year will be a bit more difficult than last. The Warriors lose 11 seniors on the roster.
"It was a senior-laden team," Wilkinson pointed out about last year. "I was a bit disappointed because I thought we should have won more games."
From October through December, the Warriors had an abysmal 4-14 record. However a nice little 8-7-2 run the rest of the year got the confidence back up in the Warrior dressing room. Though Wayne State lost in the play-in game of the CHA tournament, the team made positive strides in the second half of the year.
Maintaining that stride might be a little tougher this year. A lot of freshmen are coming in this year.
"I am excited about the potential of this class," Wilkinson said. "We have a lot (15) that are pretty good. We are supported very well for the future."
There is a 16th freshman if you add defenseman Brian Cooke, who did not see ice time last year.
Before anyone gets excited about the potential of this freshmen class, there is still work to be done by the upperclassmen.
Going into this year, Mike Forgie will be the captain. Derek Bachynski and sophomore Jeff Caister will be the assistant captains.
"Mike (Forgie) is a two year captain," Wilkinson mentioned. "Derek Bachynski has a great work ethic off the ice, and Jeff Caister showed a lot of experience last season."
This year with a young team, and a schedule that does not favor them, some can expect Wayne State to have some growing pains in 2007-08.
"We have a demanding schedule," Wilkinson said. "Our goal is to go fast. This will be a learning experience however."
Even though Wayne State is one of five teams in the CHA, there is still a good amount of parity in this league.
"The top three teams had nine, eight, and seven wins last year," Wilkinson said. "No one will run away this year."