It’s time for another minor hockey season in the North Island!
The Eagles rep hockey tryouts finished off with dryland combine testing on Saturday in Port Alice at the Doug Bondue Arena and then team practices were held on Sunday at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena in Port Hardy. The combine was a new addition this year, where the youth got to see what athletic improvements they can make in the future.
Coached by Shay Peterson, the North Island Atom Eagles weren’t sure if they would have enough players to form a team this year, but according to Eagles’ executive Tanya Spafford, the team has been granted an exemption by the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association and will be hitting the ice after all.
Coached by Al Rushton and Kevin Livingston, the North Island Peewee Eagles have a roster of 15 players and two goaltenders.
“A couple of really good players moved up this season, but we’ve got a good mix of first years and returning players,” noted Rushton. “All in all we will be competitive. We’re gonna play high-level hockey and teach them new skills and how to be accountable to their teammates.”
Rushton added it’s going to be “a great year with a great bunch of kids.”
Coached by Glenn Moore, the North Island Bantam Eagles have 14 players and one goaltender. Moore said he’s “very excited to be part of the coaching staff for this year’s bantam rep team” and he feels they have players who “had successful seasons last year and experienced what it takes to get and compete at the championship level.”
Moore added they have new faces in the lineup who are excited to accept the challenge of what the season will bring.
“When I’m asked how our team looks for this upcoming season I usually answer with a chuckle that we look really good in practice,” he said. “Going into the season I feel that if we score more goals than the other teams we should do okay, but the first step towards that goal is to establish systems, camaraderie, and have the players learn and buy in to the direction we would like to go.”
An early Moore quote this season: “Will it be easy-no, will it be worth it-absolutely!”
“There were some really tough decisions to make as we released three players, including one goalie, which was the hardest one to make,” said coach Ryan Handley about his 15 players and two goalies midget team. “There is a good mix of first, second and third year kids and they all seem very focused and energized. We look forward to a great season with this group and I’m as anxious as they are to get going.”