Jim Hulton has had another successful season as head coach of the Charlottetown Islanders and is excited to lead the team into playoffs that begin Friday night.
The Charlottetown Islanders begin their quest for the 2019 President's Cup tonight at the Eastlink Centre at 7.30.
For the last four seasons, Hulton has been at the helm of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team which has made the playoffs every time.
"It all starts with good players. We have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by good players from our scouting staff," he said.
He said it was a tough decision to move some key players at the trade deadline this year such as Derek Gentile, Pierre-Olivier Joseph and Keith Getson.
"But the new wave of Islanders kind of stepped in in their absence and we look forward to an exciting playoff run," Hulton said.
The team acquired young up-and-coming defenceman Noah Laaouan before the trade deadline and he has been paired with fellow rising star, 16-year-old defenceman Lukas Cormier.
The Islanders play the first round against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. The team has top players who used to play for the Islanders Gentile, Mitchell Balmas and Shaun Boudrias.
"You tweak some things depending on your opponent, but basically we try to have the same identity every year. We want a team that is hard working," Hulton said.
'A fighting chance'
The Islanders beat the Screaming Eagles in Cape Breton in two back-to-back games earlier this month.
"The biggest thing for us is it gives us confidence that we can win games in Cape Breton. The building is difficult to have success in. We haven't had a ton in the last couple seasons, but we won two really big games down there that gives us a fighting chance to secure home ice," Hulton said.
Playing a team you are matched up with shortly before playoffs helps the team's chances, Hulton added.
"Not only is our staff very familiar with Cape Breton, most importantly the players are. So I think that is the biggest thing," Hulton said.
The Islanders' coach actually coached alongside Screaming Eagles coach Marc-André Dumont. They were at the Canada-Russia series and also spent some time together at the World Juniors this year, Hulton said.
"That just adds another layer to the plots that are going to be involved in this series."
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