On the ice, the season is over for the Prince George Cougars.
Off the ice, it’s a different story.
“I’m in the office now,” coach Mark Holick said Tuesday. “We’re putting an end to this year, getting ready for the Bantam Draft in May.
“We’ll probably be in the office until the end of June or so, then take some time off.”
The season ended for the Cougars on Saturday night, as they dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to the Victoria Cougars, losing the first-round WHL Western Conference series four games to one.
“I thought we deserved better,” Holick said. “We came back from 3-1 down and 4-3 down in the third period to tie it.
“Then in the overtime, we had three or four failed clearing attempts in our end, and you just can’t do that in this league. It was bound to hurt us, and it did when they got the winning goal.”
While this was the first time in four seasons the Cougars made the playoffs, Holick made it clear that wasn’t good enough.
“Making the playoffs and losing in five, we don’t want to do that. We want to get better.”
That said, though, he thought the team played well in the series.
“I thought we played well, except for game 4. I have to commend our guys for the way they fought back.
“This was a good learning tool for them.”
A lot of the Cougars who played in that final game could be back next season.
“We’ll lose the two 20-year-olds [Zach Pochiro and Jari Erricosn],” Holick said, “and I’m guessing our European players [David Soltes and Tomas Andrlik] may be staying in Europe next year and playing pro hockey.
“Otherwise, we could have 14 forwards back if you include (2014 first-round Bantam pick) Justin Almeida, six defencemen and three goalies.
“It’s a long summer, though, There’s no way of telling what could happen.”
Three Cougars were also listed by the NHL Central Scouting in its final rankings ahead of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Jansen Harkins finished the season ranked 15th, while Brad Morrison was 124th and Tate Olson was 146th.