The Muskie hockey team will be holding its tryout camp for the 1997-98 season Aug. 18-23 at Memorial Arena--two months earlier than in past years.
The training camp, which usually begins in the last week of October, is a break from tradition, said head coach Terry Ogden, adding this year’s edition of the black-and-gold won’t hit the ice again until Oct. 27.
In between, the black-and-gold will get in shape for the season ahead with a variety of dryland training exercises--in hopes the earlier start will help get them into better physical condition.
"Conditioning will be a big factor this year," Ogden said. "We weren’t happy with our conditioning last year, and now we can focus on 20 players for two full months [before the regular season begins]."
The Muskies were eliminated by Sioux Lookout in the NorWOSSA semi-finals last season.
The prospects will hit the ice next week from 9 to 10:30 p.m. each day during the six-day camp, with Saturday’s final session running from 10 a.m. to noon.
Cost of the tryout camp is $10, which includes the week’s ice time.
"This is a big break from years past," admitted Ogden, a veteran of 18 years behind the Muskies’ bench, referring to the earlier tryout camp. "We’re just going to see what happens.
"I know the kids are enthused."
The Muskies will be without several veterans from last season’s squad, who were lost to graduation, leaving plenty of spots open for competition.
"We lost 10 kids from last year, including two goalies, and there’s some big holes on defence," Ogden admitted.
"[And] you have to remember, it’s not always how many guys you lose," he warned. "You have to calculate how much ice time is lost--and we lost a lot of guys who logged a lot of ice time for us."
The Muskies will see their first competitive action Nov. 14-15 in Warroad, and play their first regular-season game Nov. 18 when they host the Dryden Eagles.