Training camps have come and gone for most of Prince Albert’s major hockey teams, but the Junior B franchise, the Icehawks, will be holding theirs this weekend.
The Icehawks, who compete in the Prairie Junior Hockey League, will be taking registrations for players from 7-9 p.m. on Friday with on-ice sessions running from noon to 3:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. All of the camp’s activities will be held at the Kinsmen Arena.
The Icehawks are coming off a disappointing 2012-13 season in which they won just five games and tied four others in posting the league’s worst record and missing out on the playoffs.
Team general manager Al Pasloski is optimistic for a much better year this time around, however, as he feels as many as 10 players will be returning to the club with the hopes of numerous phone calls resulting in a deep talent pool to draw a competitive team from.
The Icehawks will also have the same coaching staff returning for a second straight season as Kim Dryka is the head coach while Curtis Juravinski is back as an assistant. Having both return for another campaign certainly gets the club started on the right foot.
League rules allow just two overage players (21-years-old), but the Icehawks have four coming to camp meaning the competition for those two spots could set the tone for a very intense weekend.
The mantra of the Icehawks since their inception five years ago is to provide local players with an opportunity to continue playing hockey at a high level after their midget careers have come to an end. With junior eligibility running from 17-20 years old (the PJHL is alone in that it allows two 21-year-olds per team) the Icehawks is a great place for players to continue playing the game if they don’t want to move from Prince Albert.
The PJHL has also become a very respected league with its membership having grown to 13 teams over the summer after the Pense Silver Foxes were granted a franchise in June. The champion of the PJHL moves on to the Keystone Cup playoffs where the Saskatoon Royals were runners-up a year ago.
Following this weekend’s training camp, the Icehawks will get right into the fire so to speak as they host the Royals on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Kinsmen Arena. The regular season is set to get under way on Oct. 1 with Prince Albert hosting the Saskatoon Quakers at 7:30 p.m. at the Kinsmen Arena.
It is a major commitment to play at this level and that was a downfall for the club last year as too many players could not be at every game. The staff is hoping to ice a more dedicated group as that will not only benefit the team, but also be an attraction for more fans.
Anyone interested in playing with the Icehawks this year is asked to be at the registration night on Friday. More information on the program being offered by the club is also available by contacting Pasloski at 306-960-3117.