The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) playoffs are underway and the Oshawa Generals were able to squeeze in as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Generals take on the best team in the league, the Ottawa 67’s, in the first round with game one on Thursday, March 30 in the nation’s capital.
Despite narrowly making into the playoffs, it’s been a tough season for the Generals on paper as they end the regular season with a record of 26-35-6.
Fans believe the Generals have struggled because of the youth of the team.
“I expected a little bit of pain, which there has been,” said Jason Surknoski, a Generals fan since 1996. “We’ll see what happens. I’m not expecting too much, but whatever happens, happens.”
His favourite General of all time is John Tavares. He also went to the same high school as Nathan Horton and T.J. Reynolds.
Surknoski understands the Generals have a young team and they are in a rebuild. He has seen many generations of players learn and grow through the organization.
The Generals have four players on their roster 20 and older. Those four being Cameron Butler, Ryan Gagnier, Thomas Stewart and Joseph Serpa. Stewart is the only one of the four eligible to return to Oshawa next season.
The remaining players on the roster age from 16 to19-years-old. Calum Ritchie, Dylan Roobroeck, and Beckett Sennecke are the main players the Generals will lean on over the next two to three years before they become over-aged.
“They’re the future, but it’s not a team for this year,” said Cal McComish.
He and his wife, Trisha McComish, have been season ticket holders for the last two years and have been fans of the Generals since they were kids.
“Way back when they used to be at the Civic,” Trisha said.
Both believe the youth of the team is its greatest strength but didn’t think the Generals had what it took to make the playoffs.
“They seem to start good, but can’t seem to finish at the end,” said Trisha.
“They’re going to get some experience and hopefully next year, they’ll be able to grow from that,” said Cal.
The Generals traded veterans and fan favourites such as former captain Lleyton Moore and Brett Harrison at this trade deadline to grow their young players.
“They did a lot at the trade deadline, so I was expecting they’d make the playoffs and other good things to come,” said fan Ethan O’ Malley.
O’ Malley thinks the Generals still have a shot in these playoffs thanks to their offense.
“They’ve got over-aged forwards like Butler and Gagnier, so they have a lot of people who can score goals,” he said.
On the other hand, Cal is looking forward to what next season brings. He expects to see significant growth from a couple of Generals.
“I think Sennecke and Ritchie will team up and we’re going to see some records broken next season,” he said.
Ritchie scored 59 points in 59 games in his second OHL season, while Sennecke registered 55 points in 65 games in his rookie season.
This is the twelfth season in a row the Generals have qualified for the playoffs.