Bears 2014-15 roster undecided after fall training camp

Kristen McEwen
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A&W Bears coach Jeff Willoughby and colleagues are facing some tough decisions narrowing the choice from more than 50 girls who attended the team’s fall training camp down to 20

Prince Albert A&W Bears goalie Jessica Vance settles into goal during a game against the Regina Rebels last season. Vance will be returning to the Bears for her fifth year this season.

The camp showcased 52 athletes’ talents through fitness tests and intra-squad games during Monday and Tuesday evening at the Art Hauser Centre.

“We haven’t completely picked the team yet, that’s going to happen within the next 48 hours,” Willoughby said Wednesday afternoon.

Six goalies, 31 forwards and 15 defensemen tried out for the limited spots on the 2014-15 roster.

Willoughby wasn’t able to definitively say how many spots are available on the team this year.

He added that veteran goalie Jessica Vance will be returning to the Bears for her fifth year.

Vance sat the final inter-squad game out so Willoughby could have a better look at other goalies competing for the second spot.

Defensemen Brooke Hobson and Morgan Willoughby were split up onto two different inter-squad teams. Coach Willoughby said both performed well as their perspective team leaders.

“We do have a good nucleus of players coming back,” Willoughby said. “And to round off the roster it’s going to be pretty exciting.”

A few rookie players stood out at the training camp, however additional ice time is needed to see if they are the right fit for the team.

Willoughby plans to keep the extra athletes with the team until the Bears’ first pre-season tournament on the September long-weekend at the Art Hauser Centre.

“We’re going to carry some extra players over that would gain from playing in a couple of extra exhibition games,” he said.

The Bears will take the ice against Norman Wild from Manitoba and another team from Lloydminster. Each team will play one another twice in a round robin tournament on Aug. 30 and Aug. 31.

Willoughby plans to have the 2014-15 roster finalized by the end of the tournament weekend.

“The tournament (will) be a great opportunity for people to come out and watch and see what the Bears look like this year,” Willoughby said.

Organizations: Art Hauser Centre

Geographic location: Manitoba, Lloydminster

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