Sunday , 22 May 2022

Pontiacs Wanna Win The North

The Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs will lace up their skates for the start of another season with conditioning camp August 21-23, 2015. There will be 60 players born 1995 to 1999 from across Canada and the United States to showcase their talents and compete for a roster spot for this year’s club.

Assistant Coach of the Pontiacs, Larry Draper, says “We’ve got boys coming in from all over the place.” Zach Mills is one of the players making his way from the States competing to play in Bonnyville. Mills comes from Minnesota where he completed a 50 point season with Hill Murray Varsity. Mills was drafted number 8 overall, says Draper who explains it was thanks to the great experience defenseman Ryan Black had with the Pontiacs’ organization, Black was able to talk-up Bonnyville and “help Mills with the decision to come north.”

Another hit kid out of Michigan, Gary Jenkins, “had 60 points last season, not too shabby,” says Draper with a chuckle. Jenkins is driving north to try out for the team as well.

The Pontiacs picked up Neil Langridge, former coach of the Jr B Cold Lake Ice. Under Langridge’s watch The Ice won 4 straight championships. Langridge was known for his eye for talent and is bringing that with him as a scout for the Pontiacs.

“Neil Langridge is doing a great job recruiting,” Draper explains the calibre of player Landridge is bringing to the camp. Brandon Whistle out of Kelowna, whom Draper says, “a forward who, shoots the puck hard, he had a 50 point season last year.” Langridge also scouted Defenseman Carter Ryan and out of Saskatchewan, Ryan Roppenberger and Brian Bixby.

“We’re really looking forward to this year,” Draper says it’ll be a “highly competitive camp.” The conditioning camp is open to the public, and the Pontiacs encourage all their fans to come and cheer the boys on.

A tradition in the organization is the Black & White game, which wraps up the camp. Throughout the week the players are split into three teams, which will play each other a few times during the camp. Coaches and trainers evaluate who determine who plays in the Black & White game. The game is held Monday, August 24th at 7:00pm.

Before they get to the game is another Pontiacs’ tradition, The Education Breakfast, held Monday, August 24th. Tickets for the event are available through the Pontiacs’ website. The Education Breakfast serves as a fundraiser for the organization, which offers its players various scholarships should they go onto to college or university. The guest speaker for the event is former NHL’er turned comedian Dennis Hull, who famously refers to himself as “the third famous Hull.”

The conditioning camp serves to help find the rooster and after the weekend some tough decisions and conversations with young hopefuls will have to be made. It’s all for the greater good of the organization, which Draper says the team has set a high expectation for itself, “we wanna win the north! That’s the standard that was set last year by the achievement by the players and the support that was given to us by the town, the businesses and the fans. We have to hold ourselves to that standard and that’s what we’re shooting for.”

The Pontiacs have a lot to live up to, in the 2014-15 season many records were broken in the organization including:

  • Strongest second half finish in franchise history
  • Highest play-off finish in franchise history (most wins; most games)
  • First time in franchise history competed in the AJHL North Division final
  • Broke records for single game attendances and for play-off attendance
  • Had the most Player Community involvement in franchise history

Conditioning Camp is open to the public

August 21st, 2015 – Main Camp begins – 8 am to 6 pm.

August 22nd, 2015 – Main Camp – 8 am to 6 pm.

August 23rd, 2015 – Main Camp ends – 8 am to 11:30 pm.


About Jena Colbourne

Jena Colbourne is the owner of Connected Media Inc. o/a Lakeland Connect. As a founding member of the Lakeland Connect team, Jena oversees the content creation of the website and its social media presence. Armed with a marketing, management and communications background Jena enjoys the creative aspects of Lakeland Connect, as such she is able to navigate the online world with ease.

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