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High-calibre players vie for ‘AA’ spots

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About 80-90 players tried out for the local Atom, PeeWee, and Bantam ‘AA’ rep teams over the weekend, and Lynn Kellar, president of the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association, wasn’t surprised by the talent out on the ice

“We always get a really good turnout,” he noted. “I am happy to see such high-calibre players trying out.

“The coaches have a lot of good kids to pick from,” he enthused.

Kellar said the two-day tryouts went well, and he’s confident Fort Frances will ice three good rep teams this season.

“It is hard to tell this early on in the year but the last few years we have seen some really good teams. Obviously, we are doing job with the younger kids,” he enthused.

“Steve Niskala of Emo ran all the drills, which allowed me and the other coaches to watch the ice,” noted Atom coach Joe Glavish. “He did an excellent job and he gets my full thanks.”

And he admitted making cuts was the hardest part of the weekend.

“Picking the teams was not an easy thing to do. That is the worst part, telling someone they didn’t make the team,” Glavish said. “Both the parents and the players are affected by it, and to me it was very tough.

“I wish I had two team so I could have taken them all,” he added.

The Atoms will have their first practice this evening at 6:30 in the 52 Canadians Arena.

“In the first practice, we will be skating as a team, doing some light skating drills, and some playing with the puck drills,” Glavish noted.

“I am looking forward to a season of fun.”

Bantam coach Shane Bliss agreed the tryouts went really well but added they were practising on thin ice--literally.

“The two out of four times we were on the ice, we were down to the cement,” Bliss said. “We had to move over to the other arena.

“It was tough to make the cuts--we have a pretty solid team,” he added. “We are a solid team from the forwards right to the goalies.

“The final cuts were made on Sunday night [and] we debated on keeping a few players,” Bliss continued. “We hope they went down on a good note if they didn’t make the team so if we need them [later in the season], we can get them.”

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