Bears make only pre-season home-ice appearance on Saturday
The Prince Albert A&W Bears will play their one and only pre-season game on home ice on Saturday at 6 p.m. when they will host the Saskatoon Stars at the Art Hauser Centre.
The Bears are fresh off a successful trip to Alberta in which they won all three games they played at the NAIT Blue and Gold invitational tournament and they also gained a split in a pair of exhibition matches against Alberta opponents.
Prince Albert, which finished fifth in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League last year and advanced to the league semifinals before bowing out to the eventual champions from Notre Dame, will have a strong nucleus of returning players to go along with a solid cast of rookies.
Leading the veteran core will be 17-year-old Kaitlin Willoughby, who began playing with the Bears as a 13-year-old and has spent the last two seasons full-time with the club. Willoughby led the team in scoring last year with 38 points in 28 games and was a member of Team Saskatchewan at the national under-18 championships in Quebec. The speedy forward is expected to be back on the provincial team again this year when the national event is held in Dawson Creek, B.C., in November.
Kelly Regnier, Crystal Berube and Jessica Vance are also back for their third years with the team and several others will be heading into their second campaigns.
The rookie contingent is led by Prince Albert’s Brooke Hobson, who last year played defence with the Pee Wee AA NAPA Raiders. The 13-year-old Hobson played in one regular-season game with the Bears last year and scored one goal.
Also new to the team is a list of players with a Saskatoon connection. They are: Sydney Beckman, Megan Sloboshan, Tylor Lindsay, Payton Ostrom, Melinda Melchart and Sara Olson.
After Saturday’s game, the Bears will have one more pre-season contest when they travel to Saskatoon on Sept. 26. The regular season is set to start on Sept. 29 with Prince Albert hosting the Weyburn Gold Wings at 7:30 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.