Import forward Mike McRae is back again for another season with the Blue Tongues in 2011. Those who caught the Bartercard Gold Coast Blue Tongues on "Totally Wild" on Friday, 1 April 2011, would have seen Ben Spillane, Dave Upton, Marco Bertossa, Adam Geric and Mike McRae pointing out the basics of skating, shooting, passing, defending and how to ice a tv presenter - to showcase the sport of ice hockey, the Blue Tongues and the AIHL on a national forum!
"It's great to have him back. He's a great guy off the ice and can obviously put up points," said Ben Spillane, when asked about McRae's return to the forward lineup for the 2011 season. "He was playing with two power forward/grinder type guys last year and still managed to generate a lot of points, so with Falk and Amado, who I think will be more offensively talented than say Dallas Costanzo and Mark Smith, he should be a real threat!"
Last year, Mike McRae put up 27 goals and 20 assists, totalling 47 points in just 23 games, 8 of those goals on the powerplay.
"Stats don't matter, but they do look nice," McRae said, humble of his achievements last season. "The main goal is to win. If we are winning, I don't care too much if those stats go up or down. I'm excited about this year's team from a talent stand point, it's looking very good! We have four good imports, and with Adam Geric and a full year of Davey [Upton] and [Brad] Young, I personally am expecting a lot from our forwards. We should be one of the higher scoring teams in the league."
That's a lot of expectation to live up to, considering some of the line ups around the league this year. But McRae is confident the Blue Tongues can live up to those expectations. Along with the change in line up for the season, the change behind the bench may also play a part in the team's expectation of success this season.
"Kev was a great guy, and a good coach, sometimes you need a change.
They've got two good guys, as Reese [Kalleitner] knows the game well, and Niko from what I can see is every excited and will run the locker room very well." That's new coach Peter Nixon he's referring to.
He gives praise to Assistant Coach Reese Kallietner for running drills and knowing the game, but Ben Spillane says that McRae does a lot to help out the young kids every Thursday at the juniors training, which is great for hockey on the Coast in general. With imports like McRae coming to the area, the local talent can only improve, and that means a better line up for the future of the Blue Tongues, and for hockey in Australia.
When asked about this coming season, Mike's looking forward to returning to the Icehouse in Melbourne and facing the Melbourne Ice. "They always have a good team and we seem to match up well against them. It's also nice playing there. It's a nice rink."