Goals mean nothing to Cale Tanaka if Hull Stingrays aren't winning
CANADIAN Cale Tanaka is "loving every minute" of his time at Hull Stingrays. The 26-year-old is three games into his first Elite League campaign, having signed in the summer.
Stingrays represent Tanaka's first foray into Britain and he says, so far, he has no regrets.
"Absolutely not, everything's exceeding my expectations," he said.
"I am having a great time. The hockey's good, the boys are great, the people of Hull are great and the fans amazing. It's been fun so far, and I'm looking forward to a great year."
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Tanaka was a late replacement after the deal for fellow countryman Colin MacIntosh fell through due to red tape.
The signing raised some eyebrows, given his lack of pedigree.
However, he arrived on the recommendation of former University team-mate Andrew Coburn, who played for Stingrays in 2010-11.
Just like Tanaka, Coburn's signing was unheralded, but he proved a big hit, finishing second in Stingrays' points scoring charts.
So far Tanaka has netted twice in three games, in the Challenge Cup 7-5 win against Cardiff and the 3-2 League defeat against Dundee.
"I am happy to contribute but I'd rather get the win," he said.
"If I score goals and contribute to a win, great.
"I love winning, but goals don't mean anything if you're not winning.
"I want to ensure I get better every game and be the best I can be every time I go on the ice.
"My work ethic does not change no matter what."
Coach Sylvain Cloutier had no qualms about the Rapid Solicitors Stingrays' effort levels in Dundee.
Having watched the match DVD, though, he lamented the spurned chances, given the Stars were out-shot.
Having pushed the Cup holders and play-off title winners Nottingham so close, only leaking two late goals to lose 4-2, and then beating Cardiff, hopes were high Stingrays could get their league campaign up and running with a victory over the less-fancied, lower-budget Scots.
Losing was a definite "downer".
"I think after the results against the big teams last Sunday was a bit of a let-down, considering how well we can play," said Tanaka.
"It certainly felt like that, but these games will happen, where you put the effort in and don't get the result you're after, but a couple of bounces and it could have been a different game.
"I hate the old cliche, but we deserved to win. We just have to try and build off it and capitalise on our chances."
Stingrays now turn their attentions to this weekend's home and away clashes against Edinburgh, starting tomorrow at Hull Arena.
Tanaka said: "These are two huge games, we want to get the wins, get better every game, show up every shift and make sure we do the little things right."