(Photo Credit: Richard Lafortune)
By: Henry Whitfield
After a year of issues where Garrett Clarke was benched numerous times by both Cam Russell and more recently new Head Coach Bobby Smith, it was only a matter of time before the young defencemen was cut or dealt by the team.
This week, the team announced that Clarke would be parting ways with the team and that his time in the uniform of the Halifax Mooseheads was over.
It is a confusing ending to the Moncton native’s time in Halifax and for many it was a move that came far to late, but comes at a bizarre time.
Although Clarke was guilty of taking a number of bad penalties in his last game on the ice, this is a player who came into training camp with a new mentality and much better play than last season.
At times last season it appeared that Clarke did not know what the team and coaching staff expected of him, when Spencer Metcalfe was traded in the middle of the season and Sawyer Hannay failed to make the impact needed of the enforcer, it often fell to Clarke to step up and defend the better players and pick up the edge that made him notorious for big, open ice hits but vulnerable to penalties.
The purpose of the Q is to develop these young, talented players into men that can play hockey at the NHL level.
The big question is right there waiting to be asked: Did the Halifax Mooseheads do what they needed to in order to develop and help Garrett Clarke into becoming a better hockey player and defensemen?
This is a team that finished at the bottom of the league two years in a row and is heading down that path again, a team that has under performed and full of players that have the potential to be stars in this league but seem to be missing the coaching, mentoring and encouragement that young hockey players need.
Sure, Garrett Clarke had a large role to play in his own demise in Moose Country but the responsibility for this failed experiment lays squarely at the feet of Cam Russell and this coaching staff.
With the same staff intact, is it possible a player like Martin Frk, who plays with a very similar edge as Clarke, will go down the same road?
Only time will tell, but I wish Clarke all the best wherever he ends up and maybe he’ll find a coaching staff that can help him adapt his game and hone in that edge.
Henry Whitfield is an avid Mooseheads fan and you can find his thoughts on sports and more on his blog, or follow him on twitter @HenryWhitfield. You can also listen to him on air as a regular contributor to the Bill McLean Sports show on 88.1 CKDU.