This is the week Maritime Junior Hockey League General Managers begin to see if their off-season decisions are panning out.
The initial indication comes with the Fitness Testing. On the home front, the forty hopefuls had an idea of what to expect and were ready for it.
For sure, this group favoured the on-ice sessions where they got their chance to chase the puck and show what they could do with it.
This was their comfort zone.
The returnees, draft picks, acquisitions, invites and walk-ons all want the same thing – a chance to make the roster.
Right now, the players are given every opportunity to show their wares. Even though the intra-squad play is largely unstructured, the skill level has created some natural flow and intensity.
Collectively, the coaching staff knows what it’s looking for and will have tough choices to make in the coming days. That’s a good problem to have.
This is an experienced staff with Coach Evans returning for his 17th season, Jamie Barbour (10th ) and Joel Isenor (3rd ). Goalie Coach Jacob Fancy, joined the staff midway through last season.
It’s noteworthy to say that the three assistants are former Bearcats, having played under Coach Evans at some point. It’s fair to say they’re on the same page.
The camp numbers break down as follows – five goalies, thirteen defencemen and twenty-two forwards. Let the competitions begin.
This year, the MHL permits each team to play eight twenty year- olds. The Bearcats have five at this time.
A full week of practice culminates with the first of four pre-season games. Saturday, the Bearcats host the Valley Wildcats, 7:00 at the RECC. (5.00 admission).
Take time to see these Cats.