This was not the typical situation of a head coach taking care of off-season work.

Weymouth High boys hockey coach Pat Kennedy had to complete a tour of duty as a Marine Reservist in another country and assistant coach Tony Sarno stepped in last season.

Kennedy’s tour of duty started in March and lasted until the end of November. Kennedy returned and is back to coach the team with Sarno, Mike Tuplin and Luke Heller.

Sarno took care of the offseason duties and the first week of the season in putting the team together for the 2017-18 season. The process of setting up for the new season started just after the last one ended.

“It started at the end of last season, Tup, Luke and I got together we figured if we were going to do it, we have to do it right,” Sarno said. “It would have to be done our way, we could not worry about what time that Coach Kennedy was coming back, because you would not get anything done spinning your wheels that way.

“We put a plan into place and we tracked the kids all summer long to make sure that they were staying in shape. Coach Pat O’Toole, in the dungeon, did his job of keeping the players in shape. As far as tryouts and making things go the way that we wanted to, we made sure that we got the message across to the players that there was no fooling around.”

The acting head coach had to put together a new schedule this year. The Bay State Conference will officially play once through the league. The second meetings that BSC teams have against each other will be non-league games.

The Wildcats will still play in the Ed Burns Tournament against Andover at the Connell DCR on Dec. 27 and they will play Hingham on Dec. 24 at the Pilgrim Arena.

“We will face the youth movement,” said Sarno. “As long as we approach it the right way we will take the youth movement and move forward in a positive direction. We will have some bumps and bruises along the way.”

Weymouth added to its schedule with games against BC High, Melrose and Brockton.

The Wildcats will start the season with three league home games starting on Dec. 13 against Newton North, Dec. 14 against Norwood and Dec. 20 against Needham.

The Wildcats had three returning player decide not to come back and instead play juniors.

“It is a big blow to lose the players, but we have taken the next man up mentality,” Sarno said. “We will do the best with what we have. We have to be better as a coaching staff and be better as players.

“Last year, we had the last seven games on the road and that is tough for any team especially when you are up and down and trying to fight for a playoff spot. This year, we have a little bit better in the middle, but we have six of our last seven games on the road. I think at that time I hope that our maturity level will be up to where we want it to be, so we can handle that moving forward and chase down that playoff spot.”

Weymouth has a core of returning players that they will rely on to lead them this year.

“We have a lot good kids coming back starting in goal and that is going to be our backbone,” Sarno said. “I believe on a team that you build from the goaltender out. We have two good junior goalies, led by Tom Haley, and we will look to him to set the tone and create some momentum for us. We will feed off that.

“We have some good returning forwards (senior captain) Cam Gibbs is coming back and he is one of the best skaters around. Sophomore Rocco DiFazio, as a freshman, led the team in scoring and we are looking to sophomore Ryan Juffre to really step up and show what he can do. He has a lot of talent and we have a lot of confidence in him.”

Senior captain Connor O’Toole was a Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic last year. O’Toole is a golfer in the fall and is coming off a ninth-place finish at the state individual tournament.

“We feel we have the No. 1 defenseman in the league in coming back in (senior captain) Connor O’Toole,” said Sarno. “He is a go-to guy and a guy that you want leading your team, Connor and (senior defenseman) John Cipullo will also be a captain for us.”