The Fort St. John Huskies were back on the ice last weekend for the first time since their quest for a third-straight NWJHL title was haulted last March, as the Huskies held their training camp at the Pomeroy Sport Centre, September 12 and 13. Though the team has no idea when a 2020-21 season will begin and what it will look like, the team will be ready to try their hands (again) at winning a third-straight title when the time comes.
"Under the circumstances, to be playing hockey and have a camp, things are good. We're happy and fortunate to be out here," said Head Coach Todd Alexander. "(GM Jeremy) Clothier has put together a good camp to the extent that circumstances allowed, and we're happy to see a lot of strong local players out here pushing for spots."
The Huskies had 30 players attend camp, down from the usual 40 to 50, to better allow for social distancing and to keep numbers down. The players competed in three groups, complying with unique restrictions — including no open ice hitting and only four players on the bench per team. To help with that, the Huskies played their games four-on-four at camp.
Alexander said that while things were different, he and his coaching staff were still able to evaluate the players and get lots out of camp.
"You're not able to see how a guy would finish his check, but you do get to see if they have a good stick on puck. That becomes even more important when you can't throw open ice checks, and we can still see a guy's skating skills and puck movement," Alexander said.
The team went right into practice this week, and will have until October 4 to make its final roster decisions. There is a godo mix of returning players, new players, and players making the jump from the Trackers to the juniors.
"There's a lot of veteran presence on the hockey club, guys who have been here the last three years and been a part of some winning, but really it's a new year and a new group," said Alexander. "Each and every guy will earn what they go and ask for themselves. At the end of the day, if you want more you have to go out and get it."
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.