The Hammerheads Pirates had a semi-successful year last season, making the playoffs but losing out in the first round to the Calabash Soldiers, a bitter end to an otherwise promising year.
Jimel McLean, last year’s starting centre, said that last year’s team had issues closing games.
“We didn’t have too much time to get to know one another and build chemistry last season, it’s like we would fall apart under pressure,” McLean said. “But this year, we’ve been working extremely hard with the new group and things look good.”
The Pirates have now changed their team name to the Dart Hurricanes and have added some new, major pieces to their team. With those additions, McLean states their expectations for 2012 season has significantly risen.
“We realistically expect to make it to the finals this year. We’ve got high expectations for the new group and we’re excited for the start of the season.”
Among the new additions are head coach Johann Moxam, veteran quarterback Glenn Duran Jr, Peter Whittaker, Brian Moxam Jr, Troy and Boris Brady. The team’s sudden influx of players came as a result of the Calabash Soldiers not having the sponsorship to continue as a team in 2012, thus leaving many players out of a team.
“There were sponsorship issues,” last year’s sponsor/player Selkirk Watler said. “Players started leaving because of the uncertainty and we decided to sit down and discuss a potential merger involving some members of the Soldiers with the Pirates.
“The Pirates were lacking in players too so it was a good fit. Our team this year is full of experience, a lot of the guys have matured and we’re more than ready for a deep playoff run.”
Last year’s sponsor, Hammerheads Brew Pub and Grill, pulled their name out of the mix and the team went a different direction. The Pirates, initially, were unable to find a sponsor until recently when Dart gave them the nod.
“This years Pirates are a new team, we’ve revamped the roster, we’re getting new uniforms, found new sponsorship and changed our name to the Hurricanes,” Johann Moxam said. “We’re looking forward to a fresh start and so far it’s been working out. We look very good.”
Both the Hurricanes and the former Calabash Soldiers have taken an otherwise bleak situation and turned it into a positive. They’ve added new veterans along with exciting rookies, team-speed has increased and the overall skill has significantly risen.
Among all the offseason and off-field confusion, the team that has been assembled for on the field action looks quite impressive. Former full-tackle football players have been added to the offensive line, players with great hands and lots of speed have joined.
Household Pirate names such as Smarnell Thomas (a wide receiver) and Neville Morgan (running back and a defensive end) are still on the team. The newly named Hurricanes are no slouches, they’ve got a talented roster and all seem to feed off the motivation of having disappointing seasons last year.
The team and coaches all have something to prove: that they can overcome the distractions and put together a championship season despite sponsorship issues and a revamped roster.
“Our team this year is full of experience, a lot of the guys have matured and we’re more than ready for a deep playoff run.”