NEW GLASGOW – The push toward a championship season begins today for the Weeks Crushers.
With 14 returning players the Weeks Hockey Organization has a large number of players coming to camp vying for a limited number of positions. Head coach Jason Malone said if the veterans’ mini-camp this week was any indication, this weekend will have a lot of intensity and high tempo on the ice.
“It’s the biggest camp I’ve had in the four years I’ve been here,” said Malone. “We had our veteran camp here this week and the tempo was good. I’m hoping our veteran guys bring that tempo into the weekend and everything is done at a high pace and everyone is moving the way that they should be.”
When asked whether the staff would be looking at where players fit with their veterans versus looking at individual players, Malone said they would have to see what they have to work with over the weekend.
“I guess it’s all just wait and see because we do have spots open and we’re not opposed to taking midget aged players,” he said. “There’s also some guys that we drafted that didn’t come to our veteran camp that we do have penciled into our lineup, so it’s an opportunity to see where people fit in and hopefully build chemistry going into our exhibition games next week.”
Having identified Brandon Thibeau as the team’s No. 1 goaltender heading into the season there is one position up for grabs with a few guys vying for it. Malone said regardless of what goaltender is selected that they want both goalies pushing each other.
“There’s no question we want Brandon as our No. 1 guy, but we want him to be pushed and we brought in a 19-year-old (Devan Tremblay) from Ontario that played junior A there,” he said. “We’ve heard good things about him, but we also drafted two pretty good goaltenders as well in Daryl MacCallum and Justin Ritcey, from the valley, and they’re both ready to come to camp. It’s all going to depend on whether we want a younger guy pushing Brandon or whether we want to solidify a permanent backup role with a 19-year-old.”
A slight change to the beginning of camp is coming this year as the organization is bringing in physiotherapist Shannon Estabrooks before camp starts. In prior years she has talked with the players after the team was selected.
After the passing of 16-year-old Jordan Boyd at the Acadie-Bathurst Titan training camp in early August, the Weeks organization wants to ensure their players are as safe as possible by having a discussion before camp starts.
The camp opens with a meeting at 5 p.m. before players take part in both on- and off-ice Friday night.
Training camp schedule
Team 1: 7-8 p.m. on-ice, 5:30-6:30 p.m. off-ice
Team 2: 8-9 p.m. on-ice, 630-730 p.m. off-ice
Team 3: 9-10 p.m. on-ice, 730-830 p.m. off-ice
Off-ice run by Kyle MacLennan
9-10:15 p.m. Team 1 vs. Team 2
10:30-11:45 p.m. Team 2 vs. Team 3
12-1:15 p.m. Team 1 vs. Team 3
6-8:30 p.m. Black vs. White game
2-4:30 p.m. Black vs. White game
*All sessions at the Pictou County Wellness Centre
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