Carl Dalton is hardcore. So hardcore, in fact, that he calls field hockey "hockey," as if it were the most natural thing in the world. While many Canadians might misunderstand him and get confused, maybe that's exactly the attitude the University of Calgary Dinos need from their new field hockey head coach.
Dalton, a native of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, will take over from Anne Kromm next season as the Dinos venture into 2001 with their third head coach in three years. The 33-year-old Dalton comes to Calgary with lots of experience and some specific goals in mind for his new team.
"The way we play the game in Australia is very different from the way you play it in Canada," he said. "I want to set us up so we can be a little more efficient. A lot of the girls here have good bases to build from. I'm gonna try to use my knowledge and experience to help them build on that."
"At the moment, a lot of the skills they have are basic skills, because they start playing hockey a little later here. I think I have a lot to offer them in the types of skills and formations we can learn."
Last year the Dinos finished with a 5-5-2 record, their most successful campaign since 1987. With Dalton and Kromm, who will take a reduced role with the team as an assistant, the expectations are high for the 2001 Dinos.
"The university system here with their hockey is thought of very highly and it's good for me to be involved in that," said Dalton. "You have to work very hard to mould a team the way you want them to be. We were .500 last season, and we would hope to emulate that at a minimum."
One stumbling block will be the absence of Teresa McLaughlin who was last year's Canada West Most Valuable Player and a pillar in the Dinos defence. Both McLaughlin and fellow fifth-year Allison Johnson played out their eligibility last season and Dalton admits McLaughlin's presence will be missed.
"Teresa, who was an excellent player, is going to be very hard to replace," he said. "You can't replace a player with skill and experience like that."
But the new coach isn't concentrating on what he doesn't have, instead his focus on the young players in his system.
"Tryouts go during the last week of August and from September on, we're going to be moving full steam ahead."