Taylor Harnett was brought on as the Head Coach and General Manager for the Waywayseecappo Wolverines in November of 2017. The Wolverines finished that season at the bottom of the league with a record of 8-48-3-1 for 20 points.
Harnett had one mission moving forward after that season and that was to turn the page on a franchise that also finished last the season prior and in 10th the year prior to that. In the past two seasons, Harnett has certainly turned things around. The Wolverines have now qualified for the playoffs in the past two seasons.
Prior to their recent run of qualifying for post-season hockey, the last time the Wolverines played past the regular season was in the 2015-2016 campaign when they made the "Survivor Series" which is no longer a thing. In that season, they lost two straight games to Swan Valley. They did make the league's quarter-finals in the 2014-2015 season. So prior to the past two seasons, the last time Waywayseecappo played legitimate playoff action was in the 2015 playoffs where they were swept by Portage in four games.
After winning just eight contests in the 2017-2018 season, Harnett quickly turned the page in his first season as the head coach and general manager. The team won 28 games and they finished eighth in the league which set up a first-round date with Portage, a series they fell short in.
Back again with the team this season, Harnett continued to lead the team to the playoffs. This year, the team finished with 32 wins and that finished them fifth-place in the league. They were down 2-1 against Swan Valley in the first round when the season was cancelled because of COVID-19.
Other than "Survivor Series" games and prior to this past season, the last time Waywayseecappo won a playoff game was back on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, when they took down the Dauphin Kings, 4-3. The team beat Dauphin one other time in those playoffs before falling short.
It's safe to say that Harnett has the Wolverines moving in the right direction.
"Finding the right people and the right players were important and just moving forward," said Harnett. "When September comes it's time to win some hockey games. There were some inpatient people and I think that's a good thing. When those people saw things turn around, it was a different story."
Harnett is now back on the phones as he prepares for the 2020-2021 season. Due to social distancing guidelines, Harnett isn't able to come face-to-face as he would like to with many prospects; however, that doesn't mean he isn't hard at work. It's not often in a day when you won't find Taylor either texting or calling with a prospect or a different player he's looking to lock up.
"It's a different time, that's for sure. We were looking forward to seeing a lot of our prospects at our Spring Camp, but that's been cancelled," he continued. "Sometimes all a general manager needs is a phone call. We have to continue stomping on the pavement and we need to get ready for next year."
When it comes to what next year's roster could look like, things are definitely looking promising. The team is eligible to return their top three scorers from this past season, Jaymes Knee, Conrad Phillips, and Rayman Bassi. Gerrik Ripley and Alex Lucken are also eligible to return and they were top-10 in Wolverine scoring throughout the season. In net, Liam Tereposky was a rookie last season and he's eligible to return to next year's team.
"It's important that we continue to grow. Sometimes you're going to have some good times or bad times," added Harnett. "At this level, you sort of have to take it season-by-season because you don't know if players will return or if they'll go another direction and things change."
"We have to make sure we fill our roster with elite talent and that's our goal," continued Harnett.
As Taylor prepares for his third season at the helm, he's enjoyed every second of it and he's looking forward to what is on the way.
"I can say that the support around here has been absolutely amazing. This is a great place to call home," concluded Harnett. "I think the word has gotten out and it makes it easier for us to do our job."