DOMINIC OSMAN is convinced the baptism of fire that was Hull Pirates’ debut season is already paying dividends second time around.
Given limited time and resources to put together a roster for the 2015-16 English Premier League season, Osman and owner Shane Smith were always likely to be playing catch-up against their more established rivals.
That was something made all too clear when Hull finished outside of the play-offs in their debut campaign, eight months after being formed in the aftermath of the collapse of the city’s previous hockey franchise, Hull Stingrays, who had played in the Elite League for over 10 years.
Osman, a former Stingrays forward himself under two different coaches, was parachuted in just weeks after being appointed as player-coach at county rivals Sheffield Steeldogs and, along with Smith, hastily put together a roster low on experience.
Not surprisingly, it was a tough few months for all concerned but, having started this season with five wins in six games and sitting third in the table, Hull are seemingly transformed, thanks in large part to having a full summer of preparation, including the big-name signing in former Sheffield Steelers and GB forward, jason Hewitt.
“The year of experience I have under my belt now has been a big help this year already,” said player-coach Osman.
“It was always going to be a tough time last year. We didn’t have a lot of time to recruit and we did what we needed to do to get through it but last year was a huge learning experience for me and this season I’ve been able to take a lot from those lessons I’ve learned.
“I sure as hell wasn’t perfect and I’m still not and I still have such a lot to learn about this job. That is one of the things that I have always picked up from my former coaches, they always told me to make sure you’re always learning and always adjusting, things like that.”
Even when wins were proving hard to come by last season, Osman still loved his job and his many responsibilities – some of which concerned off-ice matters. But he would probably be the first to admit that positive results such as those that have come his way this season have made it even more saisfying.
“I’m absolutely loving it to be honest,” he added. “I said it last year, that even though it was a very tough first year, it was still a dream job. Basically to be involved like this in something that I love and doing it every day? That makes it so much more enjoyable.
“I never wake up and moan about going to work - I always wake up and it’s exciting knowing that I’m going to be doing something all day that I really, really enjoy.”
Hull will look to continue their impressive start to the EPL campaign when they host Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday.
After hosting fourth-placed Peterborough, Hull head to Guildford Flames on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Sheffield Steeldogs hit the road to take on defending regular season champions Basingstoke Bison, who have got off to a sticky start having lost five of their opening six games.
It forms part of a double-header weekend as the pair will face-off against each other again at Ice Sheffield tomorrow.