MEDFORD -- The Southern Oregon Spartans approached recruiting this off season like you would expect an elementary school pick-up game to be decided: the bigger, stronger, and faster kids were picked first.
First-year Head Coach Denis Creighton, who has been an assistant for four years with the Spartans, said the recruiting focus this offseason was to get more physical players, ones who could withstand a full 51-game regular season.
"Last year, we had a lot of guys that were flashy, which is fine, but we started getting injured," Creighton said, "We didn't have our full roster for the playoffs [last year], so I wanted the bigger, stronger guys that could handle the more gruesome schedule."
Two of those guys are big defensemen Jacob Messer and Tom Kubler. The latter has spent his last three seasons playing for Germany's junior national team. That's something he believes makes him capable of leading a relatively young group.
"I think I bring a lot of experience. In three years of junior hockey [with the German national team], I was one of the leaders there," Kubler said, "I can teach the younger and less experienced players how to play the game."
The Spartans drop the puck on their season Friday night as they host the Tahoe Icemen at 7:30.