Lakers ink four players
The Fort Frances Lakers’ brass were busy yesterday, announcing that two players would be returning to the squad come September and that two new faces will be joining them.
Coming back from last year’s SIJHL runner-ups will be forwards Merritt Rysavy and Colton Spicer, which gives the Lakers the services of six players who were on that squad.
Although Spicer, who had 12 goals and eight assists during his inaugural season in junior hockey, has agreed to come back to the Lakers, the 17-year-old from Fort Frances will have the chance to attend the main camp of the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves at the end of August, where he’ll look to make that team’s roster.
“We wish Colton the best of luck in that,” said Lakers’ head coach and general manager Wayne Strachan.
“If he does return to the Lakers, we are interested to see how he will progress from his rookie campaign, one in which we believe he grew as a player and a person,” Strachan added.
“He has the ability to be a big part of our team if he concentrates on his game, and continues to work hard to make himself better.”
As for Rysavy, a 20-year-old from Sioux Falls, S.D., he’ll be looking to build off a solid 26-point campaign with the Lakers last season—one in which he earned the team’s most gentlemanly player award.
“We expect big things from Merritt this year,” said Strachan.
“First and foremost, we expect him to be a leader both on and off the ice, and he will get every chance to play a key role in our offensive attack,” he noted.
“We know he is reliable and dependable in both ends of the ice, and we are happy to have him back in our lineup.”
Meanwhile, the two newcomers joining the team are forward Mason Meyer from International Falls and defenceman Ethan Brekke of Detroit Lakes, Mn., who both turned in strong showings during the Lakers’ summer prospect camp at Bronco Arena last month.
Both players graduated from their hometown high school teams this past season, with Brekke scoring two goals and adding 14 assists in 26 games on the Detroit Lakes’ blueline while Meyer had 40 points in 27 games for the Broncos.
“If you got the chance to see Ethan during our prospect camp, you saw his skating ability, his puck-moving skills, and his solid shot from the point,” Strachan noted.
“Once Ethan adjusts to the speed difference of junior hockey, he will be a good player for us on our back end.
“As for Mason, he’s a slick-skating and skilled forward, and we are very happy to have him become a Laker and for him to also want to start his junior career at home,” Strachan added.
“We believe he will help our offensive attack as he makes the adjustment to Junior ‘A’, and we hope he helps to pack the building with local support from both sides of the border,” he reasoned.
The signings of Brekke and Meyer give the Lakers’ four first-year players on their roster so far, with the club already inking forwards Mathew Chasse and Brennan Nesrallah.
Local fans will have a chance to see this year’s team in person for the first time during the Lakers’ training camp, which will run Aug. 30-Sept. 2 at the ’52 Canadians Arena.
In related news, the Lakers also are looking for billet families for the upcoming season.
Anyone interested can contact Jane Johnstone at 274-5228.
As well, the team will be manning a fundraising food booth at the Emo Fair on Aug. 17-18, where they’ll be offering a six-pack ticket sale for $50.