The 36 prospects reported to Truro Bearcats training camp well prepared for the fitness component and it was obvious few were having their first skate in August.
The meshing of returnees, draft picks, acquisitions and invites makes for interesting times. They all want the same thing but that’s not possible.
The Bearcat goal is to ice a competitive team, make the playoffs, then see what happens. That’s a plan that’s worked for the last 20 years, without fail.
The coaching staff returns intact – coach Shawn Evans (16th year), assistants Jamie Barbour (9th year), Joel Isenor and TJ Smith, both for second consecutive seasons.
Collectively, they know what they’re looking for and will have some tough choices to face in the coming days and weeks. Actually, that’s a good problem to have.
Right now, the players are given every opportunity to show their wares. Even though play is largely unstructured, the skill level has created some natural flow and intensity.
The willingness to compete plays a large role in upcoming selections. This element of the game allowed last year’s team to pull out wins late in games. The desire to go the distance has to be evident.
Wednesday’s game in Berwick gave a lot of newcomers the opportunity to play with the “T” on their chest. It should mean something.
Saturday, Bearcat followers will have their first chance to see more Bearcat prospects square-off with MHL rival, the Valley Wildcats. That game gets underway 7 p.m. at the RECC ($5.00 Admission).
The process of trimming the roster will pick up following that game as the opening of regular season quickly approaches. The hard work begins.
Bearcat success is well documented. For a young player, this is a great spot to play the junior years, for many reasons. Unfortunately, they can’t all stay.
This scenario is playing out in all the other MHL franchises as well. It’s never easy but comes with the territory.
Gerry Hale is media relations co-ordinator of the Truro Bearcats junior A hockey club.