While the playoffs are no longer an option and the season is now, essentially, a write-off, Sarnia Sting coach Trevor Letowski says he still expects his team to compete down the stretch.
"As individuals, they have a lot to play for," said Letowski, speaking in the wake of Thursday's 11-0 drubbing at the hands of the London Knights.
"Even the guys who will graduate and move on," have reason to continue to push, he said. "No one has a job, nothing set in stone for next year."
As for next year's Sting team, Letowski said the things his players do now, will influence his roster decisions next fall.
"We knew this was going to be a tough year … but for the future, to me, you need character players who are going to play hard and you can trust them.
"That's what I'm going to look for down the stretch, is who's going to give that effort when the chips are down," continued Letowski. "The number one trait for me, as far as what you see in a pro player, is how they handle adversity. … I don't know if we'll ever have as much adversity as what we've gone through this year, if you look at all the storylines."
Letowski, who had a lengthy NHL career, despite not being a prolific big-league scorer, indicated he is happy to mentor players who have the drive to succeed.
"It's challenging for me ... but I think it's what made me a player and what kept me around the National Hockey League for so long as a player -- I have a lot of fight inside me.
"I have to kind of lead the way, but that's what i'm looking for in my players is to fight through ... and the guys that do will be here and hopefully be a part of the core and be a part of the group moving forward. And the players that don't, or (the ones who) just mail it in … maybe they don't have a job next year."