This was not a typical exhibition game. Officially, the Okotoks Centennial Arena was hosting an exhibition game on Friday, but Team Germany and the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers left their dressing rooms looking to put on a show for the 800 fans who sat in waiting.
“We were excited to play and it’s always interesting to play somebody from another country to see what they are like and see how they do things, it was a good challenge for us,” said Oilers head coach Dan MacDonald.
His players shared the same sentiment.
“It was a great experience all round,” said Oilers assistant captain Jesse Perrin.
Perrin is the only player with the Oilers who had played an international team at this level. It was a first experience in two years ago, but he is very animated talking about both experiences.
“Every time you get a chance to play a European team is a great experience,” said the 20-year-old with an oversized smile.
Perrin’s teammate Brandon Hoogenboom aldded how positive the experience of playing an international team was for him and his teammates.
“The vibes in the dressing room after the warm-up ... guys were pumped up to play the game,” said the Oiler rookie.
After the game, a 7-3 win for Okotoks, Perrin was complimentary of the skill level Team Germany possessed.
“They skate well, they’re strong on their skates and they move the puck well,” said Perrin.
MacDonald said Team Germany is a fast and strong team that skate really well and feels they will do well in the upcoming Junior A Challenge.
“I think they’re going to be very good, once they get there legs under them,” added the Oilers first year head coach.
Team Germany associate head coach Jeff Tomlinson was equally as complimentary to the Oilers players and staff.
“That is a good Junior hockey club and it was an eye opener for these guys,” said Tomlinson.
Tomlinson could tell his guys were in ‘awe’ of their Canadian opponent and felt his team may have been over-motivated for the game.
The Team Germany players and Tomlinson will look to build on a strong third period against Okotoks heading into a second exhibition game in Castlegar, B.C. Saturday night against Belarus.
The game is a 7:30 p.m. PST start and then Team Germany will have a two day break before Tuesday where it will face Team Canada West, the defending champions, in its first game of the World Junior A Challenge.