The Muskie girls’ hockey team enter their second season of existence, and their first as an official high school sport, with tryouts this week.
The team had hammered out the details of forming a NorWOSSA league with Dryden, Kenora, and possibly Sioux Lookout at the end of last season.
In addition to a 16-game league schedule, slated to begin in mid-November, the Muskies will play exhibition games against Warroad and International Falls, and tentatively have pencilled in an invitational tournament in Dryden.
The Muskie girls went 1-6-3 in 10 exhibition games last season.
Players and parents were invited to an information meeting last Friday to discuss the expectations of playing under high school rules, most notably academic regulations and the introduction of player fees to offset travel costs.
“We mostly talked about the changes players will see this year,” said team manager John Dutton. “All of the restrictions that effect high school sports.”
So far, Dutton said the preliminary on-ice sessions have been well-attended by almost 30 skaters--including eight grade nine students.
The first two sessions, held Sunday and last night, involved basic ice sprints and drills. Scrimmages will be held tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m., and again Sunday at noon.
“A lot of them haven’t been on skates in months. It’s an opportunity to get back and see what the girls can do,” he noted. “They look far stronger than they did this time last year.”
Head coach Pat Dittaro, along with assistants Greg Madill, Jim McMahon, and Mark Lafleur, will have to cut the team down to its final roster of 20 (12 forwards, six defence, and two goalies) on Sunday.
Dutton added the team hosts Bingos every two weeks as a way to raise money for travel costs. “The turnouts have been great and everyone from players to parents really get involved,” he said.