By Trish Allison
If you asked a resident in Deseronto how many miracles it would take to save the town’s hockey team, they would answer “just one”.
This past spring Adam Maracle and a silent partner bought the team from the town for the sole purpose of having a team in Deseronto, said Cory Seaton, general manager of the Deseronto Storm.
Maracle fits the profile for a successful hockey and he’s in it for the long haul.
“He’s strictly in this just so we have a team in Deseronto, he’s not in this for any kind of financial gain,” said Seaton.
“Council at the time just felt it was time to get rid of it because when we took the team over from the original owner, we only took it over on the basis of two years, we had it for four,” said Norman Clark, mayor of Deseronto.
“Council just felt it was time to sell it and be involved in some of the other community aspects.”
Deseronto isn’t new to the idea of being a town without a team. They’ve had two teams fold in the past, but it looks like the third time might be the charm.
Since 2007, the Storm have placed in the top five in every season except for last season when they finished seventh in their division with a record of 20 wins and 21 losses.
“There was just a lot of miscommunication I think and this year it’s something we’re trying to avoid and learn from our mistakes and move the team in the right direction,” said Seaton
“ And if that means starting the season with a smaller roster then Maracle is prepared to do that just because he wants players that want to be on the team and that can play at this level of hockey,” he said.
Seaton said the Storm doesn’t have a completed team and probably won’t until the trade deadline in mid-January.
“He’s [Adam] not just signing players to fill rosters, he’s signing players that want to be here,” said Seaton.
According to Gord Stellick, a Canadian sports broadcaster and former NHL executive, Maracle’s ambition and love for the game is exactly what a team under new ownership needs.
“I think if you’ve got a motivated owner and somebody to go about it the right way, I think it could be a very positive situation,” he said.
“The best thing at any level, is you gotta get good people in place and you’ve gotta let them run the organization,” said Stellick.
“That really is the way it is, whether you’re in any level of junior hockey, or any level of pro hockey.”
And Maracle has done just that – asking Seaton to stay with the team as GM.
“He asked me if I would stay on as GM, and I said I would, but obviously I wanted to know what his commitment level was, and it’s 100 per cent,” said Seaton.
Maracle was assistant coach last year and even played junior hockey, giving him an advantage to working with the team – and an already established respect from the boys.
“They know Adam, they know Adam from last year, they know what his expectations are,” said Seaton.
“It’s not just a commitment to winning, it’s a commitment to school, it’s a commitment to curfew, there’ a curfew at 10 o’clock, you better be home and in bed at 10 o’clock,” he said.
“There’s a commitment to be to practice on time, everything is a commitment and that’s all he asks for.”
With the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League season just underway, the Storm are currently sitting at the bottom of the standings in 13th place.
“Things don’t happen over night, part of it’s a process and part of it’s getting the right people in place to coach, the right people in place to evaluate and the right people in place to manage,” said Stellick.